Maputo — The Mozambican police on Saturday aborted an attempted attack against the cholera treatment centre (CTC) in Metuge district, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
According to the provincial director of health, Anastacia Lidimba, cited in Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", a group armed with a variety of weapons made their way to the CTC with the intention of destroying it, but were prevented from doing so by police intervention.
"We have sent a team to Metuge to find out what happened", said Lidimba, "but we believe this is disinformation about the origin of the disease, even though we are working to clear up any and every misunderstanding".
Attacks on health professionals during cholera outbreaks have been frequent, with rumours that the treatment centres are not curing the disease, but spreading it. This malicious rumour has been denied on countless occasions, but it still has the power to cause panic and mobilise mobs.
On Monday, Lidimba chaired a meeting in the provincial capital, Pemba, intended to raise the awareness of the local authorities, religious leaders and other influential figures in the city about the preparations for the cholera vaccination campaign, which is due to start on Thursday. She asked all those present to persuade their communities of the importance of vaccination.
"This vaccine protects against cholera for at least five years", she said. "So we must mobilise our communities to participate".
The province received on Sunday some 500,000 doses of the single dose oral vaccine, provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), arrived on Sunday, to be given to all people over the age of one year.
The first cases of cholera in Cabo Delgado were reported shortly after cyclone Kenneth struck the province on 25 April. So far 160 cases of the disease have been confirmed, in Pemba and in Metuge. No deaths have been reported.