Despite commitments from the district health office and other stakeholders to fight and contain the outbreak of cholera in Lilongwe, the district is still registering an increase in the number of new cholera cases.
District Commissioner for Lilongwe, Lawford Palani, on Thursday afternoon called for an emergency meeting to strategize on the way forward after getting reports of 20 new cholera cases at Bwaila Camp.
He said it was alarming to note how fast the disease was spreading despite efforts by his office, the city assembly and other stakeholders.
“The situation calls for emergency strategies to curb the causes that are highly contributing to the spread of the disease. We have noted that negligence, among other causes is the reason why the disease is fast spreading,” he said.
Palani said this prompted his office to summon the city assembly, the DHO’s office and all parties responsible in the fight against cholera to map the way forward especially in those areas registering more cases.
Responding to reports that some residents ignore cholera messages, Lilongwe Chief Executive Officer, Moza Manda said it was sad to note that some people ignore the messages being disseminated, hence the continued spread of the disease.
Manda observed that messages are being disseminated but people choose to give a deaf ear simply because they are lazy to do things as instructed by the health personnel visiting their areas.
“We need to join hands and make sure that people understand the need of putting into practice any messages disseminated by the health personnel in the affected areas but also those that are not yet affected.
“Reports indicate that within 15 days, 64 cases have been registered when in actual sense we should have been seeing a decrease. The situation is getting out of hand but we are here to make sure that we contain the situation and this is what we are doing now,” said Manda.
He said sensitization is a key and his office will involve councilors and all responsible parties to take lead in dissemination of the messages to the communities.
Lilongwe recently registered two deaths of cholera patients where one went to a private clinic and another 10 year old boy was delayed to be taken to the hospital and died on his way.
So far, the areas worst hit by the outbreak in the district are Mchitanjiru, area 36, and Kauma all from Traditional Authority Tsabango. Other areas affected are Chinsapo, Mlombwa, Chadza, Kawale, Mtandile and area 24.
In the meeting, which was held at Lilongwe District Council in the morning, Director of Public Development, Douglass Moffat assured the members present that Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has agreed to supply water in such areas using water bousers up until they drill boreholes.
“As a taskforce, we have talked to LWB to supply the areas affected with safe water up until the situation is contained and there is access to safe water,” said Moffat.
District Health Officer for Lilongwe, Alinafe Mbewe expressed worry that some cholera camps such as Chilinde are not in operation because it lacks electricity and other basic needs.
“Chilinde cholera camp is lacking some basic needs like electricity, which is forcing us to transfer the patients to Bwaila. It is not healthy for patients to be moved for such a long distance as it is also a threat to the general public,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lilongwe District has registered 96 cases of cholera. So far, two people have died from the disease as they were taken to the hospital late.
Lilongwe is one of the districts that have been hit by the outbreak of cholera affecting more than 8 urban areas.