CHOLERA IN ZAMBIA
By DELEEN CHISANGA CHASAYA
Cholera remains a worldwide risk and is a threat to our health. Zambia is experiencing a Cholera outbreak in Vubwi, Eastern province.
Acute diarrhoeal disease called Cholera is contracted by consuming food or water that has been contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. A severe case of acute watery diarrhoea and severe dehydration can result from the exceedingly hazardous disease, Cholera.
After consuming contaminated food or water, symptoms may appear between 12 hours to for 5 days. If left untreated, Cholera can kill both adults and children within hours.
Despite the fact that Vibrio cholerae is present in people’s faces for one to 10 days after infection, the majority of people who contract the infection do not exhibit any symptoms. This indicates that the bacteria are released into the environment where they may infect new victims.
In many cases, Cholera can be predicted and avoided. It can eventually be eliminated where there is access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, as well as proper hygiene practices, is provided and maintained. This means that we must always use clean water when cooking, cleaning, or washing.
Here are a few tips to consider when preventing the deadly disease:
Drink safe water
Use clean toilets
Bath clean water
Boil and cook food properly
Keep food covered
Eat food hot
Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using the toilet
Wash your hands with soap and water before and after eating
Wash your hands with soap and water regularly
Peel fruits and vegetables
Avoid raw vegetables
Clean up your environment-before and after use
The Ministry of Health has put in place a number of activities to respond to the outbreak. One way is the Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) which are the most effective strategy to prevent the deadly disease. OCVs are safe and effective, and while they are only one tool in a much wider toolkit that includes sustainable clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, they serve as an important bridge to these longer-term initiatives.
Good Food Hygiene and Health Education are also other means of preventing Cholera. During the daily 19 hours news on ZNBC, there is a Cholera advert that runs which gives Health Education on Cholera. They say knowledge is power and that is why it is very important to share the little knowledge you have with your neighbor especially if it concerns health. Always listen and be proactive.
Communities should be reminded of basic sanitary practices. These include always washing hands with soap after defecation and before handling or eating food, as well as safe food preparation and storage. Remember to keep clean at all times everywhere.
Let’s share information and save lives together. Be your brother’s keeper. Stay safe.
The author is a Senior Health
Ministry of Health-Headquarters Dept: Health Promotion, Environment and Social Determinants
Unit: Health Promotion Phone No.: +260 953 268090