Tanzania: State Issues Disease Alert As Rains Continue Pounding

THE government has issued a nationwide health alert after a heavy downpour hit most parts of the country this week, with flooding being reported in the country's commercial capital of Dar es Salaam.

State meteorological agency, TMA had said Dar es Salaam, for instance, could be soaked by significant weather events bringing torrential rains, floods and damaging winds.

Addressing reporters here, Prof Abel Makubi, Chief Medical Officer said there was likelihood of an outbreak of diseases, especially dengue fever, malaria, diarrhoea, and bloody diarrhoea if precautionary measures won't be taken among the general public.

"We have all witnessed events of mass destruction of infrastructures, especially water and sewerage network. This poses high health risks to the public and could lead to infectious disease outbreaks," said the CMO.

Prof Makubi urged the public to take general precaution, emphasizing that the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children had outlined steps one must take as prevention against the infectious diseases.

Official records show Tanzania defeated cholera outbreak in July last year, but the ministry is concerned that if the public does not take early precautionary measures, the disease is likely to resurface.

Part of the measures that helped include improvement in infrastructures and access to clean and safe drinking water.

He reminded the public to ensure they drink well boiled or treated water, avoid consuming food prepared in unsanitary environment, and proper utilisation of lavatories.

"We must wash our fruits before eating them, ensure constant hygiene, especially in crowds, schools, universities and markets," he said, adding that people must also avoid leaking toilets and sewerage during the rains.

Infectious diseases are the second largest drain on productivity after non-communicable diseases in Africa, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The ministry has called upon medical officers across the districts and regions in the country to work hand-inhand with other government authorities in coordinating better health practices in the communities.

The Chief Medical Officer emphasized that prevention was better than cure, and that every individual must be responsible for their own safety and the health of the entire nation.

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