2 February 2013

Zambia: 'Be Prepared for Epidemic Outbreaks'

NORTHERN Province Permanent Secretary, Hlobota Nkunika has urged district officials to be alert and respond quickly in times of disease outbreaks.

Mr Nkunika was speaking in Kasama on Thursday during the provincial epidemic preparedness committee meeting.

He said responding quickly to waterborne epidemics like cholera required a coordinated and multi-sectoral approach.

"We need to be proactive and not reactive to disease outbreaks. We need to be prepared for every eventuality and ensure that we do not record preventable disease outbreaks," he said.

The meeting was attended by provincial medical officer Jelita Chinyonga, district commissioners, civic leaders and Health ministry officials.

Mpulungu District Commissioner Julian Chizu said the process of relocating cholera-prone villages on the shores of Lake Tanganyika was underway.

Ms Chuzu said the affected villagers had been informed that they were supposed to settle at least 100 metres away from the lakeshore.

She said the main challenge was that some villages were surrounded by a mountainous terrain, leaving them with no room for relocation.

Mr Nkunika, however, said traditional leaders should be consulted and sensitisation programmes carried out.

Mpulungu district officials said the Government had spent close to KR1 million during last year's cholera outbreak which affected more than 227 people.

The province has been recording persistent waterborne diseases due to encroachment of areas that supply districts with water.

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