Written by on May 2, 2019

IT IS not right that every year Government has to spend money to fight outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and other communicable ailments that could easily be prevented.

Last week, the Ministry of Health announced that it had successfully battled and managed to contain a cholera outbreak in Mpulungu in Northern Province.

In 2017, close to a hundred people died from the same disease, with Lusaka contributing the highest number.

This was a blight on the health status of the nation which gobbled millions of Kwacha.

Having successfully fought the cholera epidemic, one would have expected that the nation and its citizens had learnt a lesson.

Alas, what we are seeing now shows that some people have forgotten the frantic efforts it took to bring Lusaka, in particular, to a cholera-free status.

The causes of cholera are well known.

It is basically a hygiene-related disease.

We doubt there is a household that can claim not to know what leads to cholera outbreaks and how to prevent them.

The Ministry of Health has throughout the year mounted one of the most effective and consistent awareness campaigns in the country.

It is almost impossible for any family to claim ignorance because these health campaigns targeting the fight against cholera have been in all forms of media and in local languages.

It is for this reason that we share the frustrations of the Lusaka City Council (LCC) with regard to traders who continue to sell food in unhealthy conditions.

We support efforts by the local authority to eliminate rubbish from commercial and residential areas.

It is important for residents to adhere to health regulations by ensuring that food stuffs are sold in hygienic conditions.

We strongly support LCC’s insistence that meat and other foods should be sold only in appropriate places like butcheries and stores.

 LCC acting director for public health Edgar Mulwanda said in an interview with the Sun that the local authority was disappointed that some people had continued with the illegal business despite its efforts to curb it.

Mr Mulwanda said it was unhygienic to sell ready-to-eat food in open spaces and on the streets.

He said the practice posed a danger to members of the public, especially consumers.

It does not take much to set off a cholera epidemic, especially in some of our shanty compounds where clean running water is erratic.

It is also unfortunate that some of the traders selling beef on tables in the streets have no means of ensuring that their merchandise is safe for the consumers.

A common feature among such traders is a table piled with meat and flies feasting on the same.

This is hardly healthy and should be discouraged. Much as we know people have to make a living, it should not be at the expense of the general health of the nation.

Those who want to sell meat must invest in setting up small butcheries that adhere to health regulations.

Business should not just be about making profit, but providing a good service to consumers.

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