10 January 2018

Zambia: Trade Kings in Cholera Fight Campaign

FROM the time the first case of cholera was reported in Lusaka on October 6,2017, the number of people getting infected with the disease had grown to more than 2,000.

The Ministry of Health says there has been over 51 deaths since the break out.

Since then, various interventions have been put in place to make sure that hygiene standards are up to date.

Ministry of Health has further indicated that cholera cases have gone up to over 2,000 both in and outside Lusaka since the outbreak was first reported last year.

Public gatherings and meetings have been banned in high risk areas while the opening of schools has been canceled until further notice.

It is with such background that efforts from stakeholders and partners are needed in order to halt the spread of the waterborne disease to more parts of the country.

Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya and his counterparts from other ministries have joined forces to make sure the further spread of cholera is avoided by heightening the cleaning of the affected areas in Lusaka and other places.

Dr Chilufya, who confirmed the closure of some trading places, besides stopping street vendors form trading until further notice, said this was done in order to avoid the further spread of the disease.

Recently, Dr Chilufya received a donation of assorted cleaning items from Trade Kings Foundation, one of the many business entities that are working with the Government and its stakeholders in fighting cholera.

Speaking when he received the donation in Lusaka recently, Dr Chilufya said investigations revealed that cholera cases recorded in various parts of Lusaka had a common point of distribution which was either a visit to a particular market or procurement of foods from certain streets.

Dr Chilufya indicated that the fresh foods that were sold from the streets and markets, including mushrooms, beef and chickens, and also the food from restaurants with poor sanitary facilities, had collected vibrio cholera or other faecal particles.

Dr Chilufya said toilets in markets that had been checked so far also had evidence of vibrio cholera.

Some of the interventions that Government has put in place is the distribution of clean water in the cholera epicenters, increased health inspections of food outlets, the use of military personnel to assist in cleaning up formal and informal trading places and the suspension of the opening of all learning institutions across the country.

The cholera outbreak does not only pose a health risk but also an economic risk.

The cleaning up of the informal trading areas has brought many small businesses to a halt.

This has impacted Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that depend on Lusaka's Central Business District (CBD) for trade.

However, corporate organisations are trying to compliment Government effort in scaling up the interventions that have been put in place to fight the epidemic.

It is in this regard that the Trade Kings Group of Companies made the donation.

Besides donating K2 million, the company also donated assorted cleaning materials to help in tidying up the city of Lusaka.

Group General Manager Lux Subramaniam said through the Coporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the Trade Kings Group realised that it could play a role in maintaining hygiene and sanitation which is vital in curbing the cholera epidemic.

Mr Subramaniam said being lead manufacturers of indigenous hygiene and sanitation products, his group of companies felt obliged to make a donation of products to the Ministry of Health to help in the cleaning exercise.

"This generous donation has descended at the right opportune moment when the Government is focused on providing a permanent solution of arresting the spread of cholera," Mr Subramaniam said.

He said the Trade Kings Foundation, which was established last year by the Trade Kings Group of Companies, is focused on promoting four key issues namely; health, education women empowerment and youth skills development.

Mr Subramanam said the outbreak of cholera required an aggressive and integrated social mobilization that included partnership, infrastructure, public awareness and hygiene products.

He said the trade Kings foundation donated 1,500 liter bins; 50,000 bottles of chlorine and PVC gloves which would help in the clean exercise in the affected areas.

"The foundation has purposed to contribute to the transformation of the health sector in the country," he said.

He said the foundation was happy to be part of solutions aimed at fighting pandemics such as cholera.

Deputy Minister in the of the Office of The Vice President Silvia Chalikosa expressed gratitude that the Government has partners like Trade Kings who were eager to contribute towards ending the suffering of the people who were affected by cholera.

Ms Chalikosa said the various donated products would go a long way in the boosting the cleaning exercise which is currently going on to curb the further spread of cholera.

" Government is happy to have Trade Kings as partners in the fight against the further spread of cholera which has claimed lives.

"We would like to urge other corporate entities to emulate Trade Kings by coming on board and helping us to fight cholera," she said.

Ms Chalikosa said it was gratifying to note that companies were equally concerned with the health of the people.

Ms Chalikosa appealed to the general public to understand that if no concerted efforts are put in place to curb the spread of cholera, everybody would be at risk of being affected in one way or the other.

The rapid spread of cholera will only be halted through implementation of several measures which the Government has already put in place.

This will further be boosted by the help of stakeholders and partners, such as Trade Kings, who should pool efforts together with the Government as well as the public in promoting clean surroundings in trading places, especially the markets where various foodstuffs are old, as well as through the provision of cleaning materials.

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