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Zambia's Cholera outbreak spreads fear across Southern Africa

As Zambia struggles to contain a cholera outbreak that has killed at least 66 people across the country since October 2017, cases of cholera in Malawi and Tanzania are spreading fear in the southern part of the continent.

Zambia has already called in the army to support the ministry of health, postponed the schools calendar, constitutional hearings and political activities, in addition to closing down a number of businesses whose hygiene was wanting.

In neighbouring Malawi and Tanzania, the media has reported cases of cholera and the respective governments are putting in measures to protect their citizens.

Immigration Department says it has set aside strenuous measures on Malawi’s borders to ensure cholera does not spread further in Malawi.

“Immigrants suspected to have been infected are being screened and rendered with treatment,” said the Department’s spokesperson Joseph Chauwa.

Reports indicate that four people have died due to cholera in Malawi, since the start of the rainy season while 150 people have been hospitalised.

In Tanzania, authorities ordered an indefinite ban on fishing activity in Lake Rukwa, following a cholera outbreak in the area.

According to the Sumbawanga District Commissioner, eight people out of 165 hospitalised for suffering from cholera have died.

‘‘I order all activities related to fishing in and around the lake to stop. We must control the spread of this disease. People keep ignoring health rules including having good toilets and washing hands before and after eating,’‘he said.

In both countries; Malawi and Tanzania, medical workers have been urged to intensify education and sensitisation campaigns in the communities to curb the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, the Namibian government on Monday this week imposed a provisionally ban on all perishable food, fruits and water imports from Zambia.

Health officials are on alert and have taken precautionary measures, including screening people entering Namibia from Zambia, said health officer Lempie Onesmus.

"When a person arrives, the health officer uses an infrared thermometer to check their body temperature. If the body temperature is too high, maybe 37 degrees, the device will ring as it has a programmed alarm. It also depends on what symptoms the person has. For instance, if that person has cholera, they will be vomiting and having diarrhoea," she explained.

Earlier in the week, Zambian ministry of home affairs suspended the issuance of passports, a measure believed to be part of efforts to restrict public gatherings as death toll from the cholera outbreak rises.

 

Cholera Prevention Sign Board 5268484475

Cholera prevention sign board in Zambia