By Patrick Botha
People of Group Village Head Mganga in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Zilakoma in Nkhata Bay fear for their lives after what was previously confirmed as diarrhoea outbreak has been confirmed to be cholera.
A Statement which was released on Wednesday by the Directorate of Health Services and Social Welfare (DHSS) for Nkhata Bay confirmed that there was a Cholera outbreak in the district.
It reads, “I would want to communicate that is now confirmed that it is Cholera. This confirmation is from the four samples we took on Monday. So we have a Cholera outbreak.”
Following the announcement, Public Health Emergency Management Committee (PHEMC) for the district converged for an emergency response meeting to strategize on how to contain the situation.
District Water Development Officer for Nkhata Bay, Alex Mwanjasi Mwakikunga told the meeting that there are serious sanitation issues at the fish camp attributed the outbreak to the situation.
“People in this area use water from Katozi River which is also used as a toilet by fishers. My team found faecal matter in the upper section of the river while children and women were busy fetching water down the river,” he said.
The meeting then agreed that all disaster clusters should draw their plans and later consolidate them for effective response to the outbreak.
According to Director of Planning and Development (DPD) for the district, Isaac Mkandawire, the consolidated action plan would form basis for government and development partners to allocate resources towards containing the disease.
The Statement indicated that there are 47 new cases, 25 admissions and 260 cumulative cases with eight deaths.
Previously laboratory results from Mzuzu Central Hospital Microbiological Lab had ruled out the possibility of cholera after finding bacteria called E. coli 0157 in the tested samples.
Meanwhile the district has intensified Cholera awareness campaign in the area, urging people to be adhering to hygiene and sanitation practices.