On a sad note, Lilongwe is the only city in the country that has so far registered Cholera cases since its outbreak. It is also the second from Karonga to register highest cholera cases.
According to the District Environmental Health Officer (DEHO), Paul Chunga, the situation can be attributed to the compromised sanitation status of the city of which some of them include; lower coverage of latrines, few water points and scavenging at the city’s dumping site which is commonly called “Ntaya and has over forty scavengers who sell the waste at various market places.
According Asayire Kapira who is the Program’s Officer for WESNet; Non-Open Defecation (NOTF) members, observed that Lilongwe can be a major hotspot for the furtherance of the spread.
“Looking at the rate Lilongwe is registering Cholera cases in various health centers; the city is likely to be a major hotspot for the outbreak. Institutions like schools and markets in the city are also at high risk of contracting and spreading the epidemic. On a tour that we had as NOTF across the city, we observed that schools whose sanitation is poor like M’buka L.E.A. where learners are using full latrines and areas around the city’s dumping site normally called “Ntaya” like Msambachikho primary school are vulnerable to contracting the bacteria and promote further spread. Therefore if such situations are left unhandled especially closing the Ntaya, the situation can worsen and may be more difficult to contain,” lamented Kapira.
According to the Ministry of Health Cholera reports, Lilongwe has so far registered 47 cases and 204 cases for Karonga since its onset.
By: Gloria Nazombe