Health rights campaigners call for an integrated approach to the fight against Cholera and Covid19

By: Dyson Kamwana

Amid a surge in Cholera cases in the country, health rights advocates have called on the government to integrate measures aimed at controlling the further spread of Cholera and Covid-19 in the country.

The call follows a circular from the National Local Government Finance Committee (NLGFC) dated 25 January 25, 2023, which is directing all district councils to utilize part of the C0vid-19 balances in implementing Cholera control activities in the country.

The statement has indicated that the decision follows approval by the Secretary to the Treasury on a recommendation from the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 and Cholera and the Ministry of Local Government, to use the funds for short-term Cholera fight activities.

The circular has further directed the district councils to submit their operational plan for utilizing the balances of Covid-19 ORT funds before February 6, 2023.

Meanwhile, Maziko Matemba, one of the health rights activists in the country, has warned the government against diverting the attention away from fighting against Covid19, despite the country currently registering low cases of a new infection.

Matemba has added by appealing to the government to adopt an integration strategy in the management of both Cholera and Covid-19 outbreaks in the country, considering also that lack of funds is a loophole slowing the country from curbing the outbreaks.

“Much as we know that prevention measures for Covid-19 and Cholera are at least the same, the government should not forget that Covid19 disease is still with us, and whenever these measures are being formulated, they should not forget this disease, hence a need to adopt the integration measures,” Matemba said.

Matemba believes that decision has been made by various stakeholders in the Presidential Taskforce on Covid19 and Cholera, adding that there is a need for the government to take serious action if the battle against the outbreaks is to be won.

Recently, there have been calls from various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and health rights campaigners including the Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), asking the government to develop urgent action toward funding Cholera fighting activities.

The development prompted the Presidential Taskforce on Covid 19 and Cholera to announce a statement on January 9th, 2023, appealing for medical donations from the private sector, as the government did not have enough funds to ably curb the outbreak.

The Ministry of Health’s latest figures indicates that on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023, 620 people tested positive for Cholera with 21 new deaths.

The figures bring the cumulative confirmed cases to 31, 241 and 1, 023 total deaths, since the onset of the outbreak in March 2022.

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