Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya has warned against complacency in the fight against cholera even if the disease is on the verge of being contained after months of intense measures to stop the epidemic which killed more than 70 people.
Dr Chilufya said there was need for Zambians to maintain high levels of cleanliness to ensure that the disease and water borne illnesses were completely eradicated and prevented.
The Minister was speaking in Kabwe yesterday at the interdenomination choral festival sponsored by Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga under the theme 'cleanliness is next to godliness'.
"You have brought us this theme strategically when my ministry has embarked on a countrywide cleaning of public and residential places to eradicate diseases such as cholera which recently claimed many lives in our communities," he said.
Dr Chilufya added: "The theme is not a mere statement but it is biblical that we keep ourselves and the environment clean because God wants people with clean thoughts and clean environment where they live."
Dr Chilufya said people should be mindful that apart from cholera which was on the verge of being contained, there were many other diarrheal diseases that were associated with dirty hence the need to live in hygiene conditions.
He said the festival which attracted about 30 choirs from 15 different religious denominations was an important platform for people with different political affiliation to interact as a sign of love and unity.
Dr Chilufya warned the young people against engaging themselves in illicit activities such as drug abuse, illicit sex as well as excessive beer drinking and abuse of information communication and technology (ITC).
The Minister said there was need for Zambians to safeguard the existing peace in the country by praying and discarding action that endangered it.
Mr Mushanga said the annual festival had grown over the years since 2015 when it was inaugurated with the aim of promoting unity in Bwacha constituency.
The area parliamentarian said his aim was to sponsor inter district festival next year before holding a provincial one in 2020 as a way of promoting oneness among the people in the region.
"The idea to start the choral musical festival was based on Jesus' commands that 'we may be one'... I want to promise as I did last year that, such youth programmes like this will continue even when I will no longer be a Member of Parliament," he said.