Kasungu DHO unveils cholera response plan

Kasungu District Health Office (DHO) has unveiled a cholera response plan with a call to stakeholders to support the blueprint so that the district maintains the zero-case status in the current cholera season.

Presenting the plan to district stakeholders on Tuesday, District Environmental Health Officer, Rudolf Zinkanda Banda called for more support from partner institutions to cushion the district from the outbreak that is raving Kasungu’s neighbouring communities on the Zambian side.

“As much as we have not registered any cholera case this season beginning November 2023, we need to be vigilant and aware of the fact that being a rainy season, there are more risk factors, including the fact that we share borders with Zambia where they are registering many cases.

“We must see to it that the response plan is supported and implemented and be on the ground and protect our district borders so that the communities are safe,” he said.

Kasungu District Health Office Cholera
Banda: We must be on the ground

Banda said the response plan recognises the importance of early planning for emergency response and decentralisation and empowerment of facilities’, primary health emergency rapid response teams and involvement of community leaders in the fight against the outbreak.

He said: “We want to increase community engagement and risk communication, strengthen surveillance, case management, water and sanitation hygiene and coordination.

“We also have to procure drugs and related supplies including establishing treatment units. We will also train all the line staff to build an effective and efficient team that can respond to the emergency with utmost efficiency.”

Kasungu District Council Director of Public Works, Davie Chigwenembe, called for more coordination amongst partners to ensure proper delivery of water and sanitation hygiene services such as drilling and rehabilitation of boreholes to improve access to clean water.

He said it is possible to defeat cholera if there is meaningful support towards the response plan.

Kasungu shares boundary with Zambia’s Chipangali, Lumezi and Lundazi districts and an estimated 158 600 border population, specifically at Kamboni, Linyangwa, Mpempa, Chulu, Newa, Nkhamenya and Lodjwa, could be at risk.

However, the district is yet to register a case this season owing to increased water chlorination exercise in the communities and the successful implementation of the ‘Tipewe Kolera’ campaign, authorities say.

Zambia has reported over 17 000 cholera cases since the outbreak started in October last year with at least 626 deaths whereas Malawi has registered 67 cases and two deaths in the new season.

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Nthanda Times

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