Lusaka cholera outbreak is over, says Chilufya


HEALTH minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says there were seven accumulative cholera cases recorded last month. Giving an update on the cholera outbreak that hit Lusaka late January, Dr Chilufya said the cases were treated successfully and there had been no cholera case recorded in the last 19 days. Dr Chilufya said on January 29, a cholera case from Kabanana area in Lusaka’s Chipata sub-district was confirmed by the University Teaching Hospital laboratory.

He said the ministry through the district and provincial health offices launched increased surveillance and contact tracing coordinated by disease intelligence wing, the Zambia National Public Health Institute.

“As of 13th February 2019, an accumulation of seven cases were laboratory confirmed from Kabanana (two), Garden (two), Chipata SOS (one), Mtendere (one) and Buseko market (one). All cases presented with severe dehydration due to acute diarrhoea and vomiting. They were successfully treated in the Cholera Treatment Centers (CTUs) within the sub-districts in which they reside,” he said.

Dr Chilufya said as of yesterday, there were no cholera case recorded.

“I have the privilege and honour to declare the cholera outbreak over,” he said. “You are aware as presented in my previous statement that the factors that caused the outbreak remain similar to those that proliferated the 2017/18 outbreak. These include consumption of contaminated water and food, inadequate sanitation facilities in public places and indiscriminate disposal of solid waste.”

Dr Chilufya said through the lessons learnt in the last outbreak and the improved immunity from oral cholera vaccination in the risk population, the ministry managed to have a very low grade of an outbreak.

“My Ministry has set a legacy goal to end cholera in Zambia by 2025 following our sponsoring of the global cholera elimination by 2030 resolution at the World Health Assembly in 2018. We are committed to securing the health of our people through control and elimination of diseases, stressing on prevention measures at all levels of health management, including policy, programme and community,” he said.

“To further enhance our surveillance and emergency response capacities, our all-weather partner the World Health Organisation is today donating to us two field vehicles and various cholera kits that will be anchored at the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI). Of course you all know that the ZNPHI is mandated to coordinate surveillance and disease intelligence, emergency preparedness and response based on evidence generated through the laboratory and research and communicated to the different levels of the health management. These roles are key components in health security.”

He said the government remained grateful to the WHO for its continued support.

“We appreciate the efforts in securing the health of our population; provision of Oral Cholera Vaccines, diagnostic tools and consumables, cholera kits, technical support among others.  I also wish to appreciate the continued support from many other bilateral and multilateral partners in securing the health of our people not only against cholera but other communicable and non-communicable disease,” Dr Chilufya said.

He appealed to the public to take ownership on securing health by being vigilant in reporting cases and seeking professional help from the nearest health facilities, as well as observing highest levels of personal and household hygiene.

“You are also encouraged to refrain from buying and consuming ready-to-eat food from unauthorised eating places in order to prevent cholera and other food-borne diseases,” said Dr Chilufya.

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