HEALTH minister Chitalu Chilufya says the outbreak of cholera should not be reason for government officials to adulterate procurement laws.
And minister in the Office of the Vice-President Sylvia Chalikosa says the cholera outbreak has earned Zambia a bad name.
Meanwhile, over 10 corporate entities yesterday made various donations to the Ministry of Health.
Briefing the press in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Chilufya said there was need for all government officials to utilise the donations received from various companies prudently.
“Yesterday we were talking about prudent use of whatever comes in and we as PF we believe in transparency and accountability, so all that the corporate world has brought in will be used prudently. Secondly, for our people in the logistics team, take note that the outbreak of cholera is no reason for us to adulterate procurement laws. There are jet speed lanes for procurement…there are emergency lanes for procurement and so let’s support all the regulators. We are all in the emergency mode and no one will be bureaucratic over this. Let’s live within the confines of the laws of procurement and ensure that while we are operating in the jet speed lane, we do not break the law. This is a call for prudence in the utilization of resources,” Dr Chilufya said.
He also said there was no need for business houses to increase the price of chlorine.
“We want to thank the corporate world for their overwhelming response. We do not want to entice the business world to take advantage and increase the price of chlorine. On one hand we want to place on record the overwhelming support we are getting as government and we do not want to encourage other businessmen to take advantage and increase the price of chlorine. Let’s all be united to conquer this. We want those who are doing that to emulate the corporate citizens here and those who have been here before in partnering with government to promote the common aspirations of our people,” Dr Chilufya said.
“We want to state clearly here that the companies that have been making chlorine have not hiked prices and the pledge by Trade Kings to commence production of chlorine will help us. The production of chlorine started yesterday and today they will make their first donation. So, for the unscrupulous businessmen who see an opportunity in this, they may just be swept off with the huge donations we are getting from our responsible partners.”
Dr Chilufya said the number of new cholera cases had continued to reduce.
“We continue to record marked reduction in the number of cases. Like we said, five days ago we were recording 164 new cases, and in the last two days we have recorded an average of 80 new cases. That represents a 50 per cent reduction in the case load. It will be useful to note that out of the cumulative 2,840, we have successfully treated 2,610 and these have been discharged. We have recorded 64 deaths cumulatively and even the deaths that we have been recording in the recent past, they are deaths happening at home. That is the reason we are intensifying our contact tracing and our community engagement because we have put up a robust response in our Heroes stadium hospital and our various treatment units. Facility deaths are at zero and community deaths, we recorded three in the last 24-48 hours, so that brings the cumulative total to 64,” Dr Chilufya said.
“The rest of the country continues to record sporadic cases which are epidemiologically linked to Lusaka. So we have three cases and again that’s a significant drop because in the last five days, we were recording 12 to 18 on average. We recorded one in Solwezi, one in Katete, and one in Kabwe. The oral cholera vaccination campaign was launched successfully yesterday and we would like to report an overwhelming response. We would like to thank the communities in the epicentres for responding overwhelmingly to the call to have school-going children and residents vaccinated. So yesterday the average was from 5-22 per cent turnout on day one from the various epicentres and the majority were school-going children. This will help us reopen schools.”
And Chalikosa said cholera had earned Zambia a bad name.
“This cholera outbreak has earned us a bad name and we are hearing stories of travel bans in other countries…not welcoming people from Zambia so the sooner we contain this, the better it will be for all of us,” Chalikosa said.
“I would like to receive all the donations that have been made from the corporate entities present here today. These include NAPSA, Puma Energy, Hungry Lion, Pep Stores, Trade Kings, Unilever, Zambia Airport Corporation Limited, Bankers Association of Zambia…this issue of carrying out your social corporate responsibility should not be just seen at a time when we have a crisis. Yes, it is intensified this time but we would appreciate that we continue with this relationship post cholera because we need to actualise the Keep Zambia Clean campaign and this is one way of getting everyone on board.”
Chalikosa said government was going to put together data for all the donations it had used and that government officials would show how the distributions would be done.
And local government minister Vincent Mwale said drainages should not be used as swimming pools.
“We have noted with sadness some happenings in some of the residential areas where we have overhauled our drainages…. I am sure you all know that we have embarked on the rehabilitation of drainages with funding from the Millennium Challenge Account and some of these drainages have been widened. But because these drainages are so beautiful and new, we have seen on social media pictures circulating and kids are using them as swimming pools. This occurrence is a sad one and we expect parents to educate their children on the dangers of doing that. Some of these drainages are draining water from the flooded pit latrines. The water is deadly and we wish to appeal to parents to take care of their children. We have seen pictures where this is happening in Garden Compound, Mazyopa and other areas,” said Mwale.