Zambia: Maintain Hygiene to Eradicate Cholera


After months of an intense battle against cholera, there is no doubt that the disease which killed more than 70 people is on the verge of being contained completely.

We say this because we have noted that there are times that a day passes without a single case of the cholera unlike at the pick of the outbreak in December when nearly 100 were recorded per day.

Kudos should therefore go to the Government particularly President Edgar Lungu for employing radical measures in ensuring that there was a reverse in the spread of the water borne disease especially in Lusaka.

The cleaning exercise in Lusaka and other parts of the country which involved security personnel was extraordinary and certainly made a huge difference in reducing the spread of the pandemic.

However, much as we celebrate the success of the Government's efforts in containing cholera we realise that the risks of having this disease reoccurring now and in future remain.

Therefore, we agree with the warning by Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya on the need for every Zambian to avoid being complacent as we celebrate the success story of containing cholera.

The need for every person to keep their surrounding clean and healthy all the times cannot be overemphasised if we are to avoid the outbreak of diseases as sustain healthy living.

Effective cleaning should be an important part of a greater plan to create healthier indoor environments by eliminating the contaminants that can make people sick.

It is a well-known fact that lack of hygiene and cleanliness is an open invitation to infectious disease. Apparently, just like food, water, oxygen and other things are important for our existence, similarly, cleanliness is crucial for our health, physical and mental makeup.

As Dr Chilufya noted, apart from cholera, which is always associated with dirt, there are many other diseases that are caused by lack of a clean environment.

For instance dysentery, Trachoma, Typhoid fever and Polio are some of the deadly diseases caused by dirty surrounding.

In this regard, even if cholera has been defeated, anything that will keep our surrounding dirty would certainly put us on the risk of contracting these epidemics.

The outbreak of cholera in October last year which claimed more than 70 lives and affected over 5,000 people was certainly a sad chapter in the country's history.

However, the outbreak should on the other hand be seen as an embarrassment as it exposed us the levels of dirty that has befallen people in all the affected towns.

What is worrying perhaps is that even now when we have lost people to cholera some Zambians are only able to keep their surroundings clean by pointing a gun at them.

There is an old adage that 'cleanliness is next to godliness' and it surely makes little or no sense for someone to expect the police and soldiers to remain in our streets for them to keep their environment clean.

We urge every Zambian to maintain personal hygiene with or without security personnel on the street; with or without cholera outbreak in Lusaka so that we prevent any diseases caused by dirty.

We feel time has also come for parents to educate their children on the need to maintain high levels of cleanliness and its importance.

There should be no compromise with cleanliness at levels of our lives and the little ones should practice it right from their childhood so that they grow up as responsible individuals who know how to live a healthy life.

The importance of cleanliness cannot be overemphasized when it comes to our food -- whether we buy it at a market, eat it at a restaurant, or have a meal at a friend's home.

Similarly, a high standard of cleanliness is expected of those handling or serving the food we eat. In this regard, while we commend the Government for the efforts of fighting cholera, we call on every Zambian to remain vigilant by exercising basic hygiene standards at all times.

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