Blantyre water problems sets Cholera on the loose

Written by  Sam Phiri

Whether it is a matter of coincidence or not the persistent water shortages in Blantyre is being blamed for the death of three people from cholera health officials have said.

Blantyre Women Cuing for Water Blantyre Women Cuing for Water

Cholera is a water-borne disease and for the past two years Blantyre district has not experienced or reported any case.

According to the Chairperson of the Blantyre Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) cluster who is also the District Environmental officer for Blantyre District Health Office (BDHO) James Chausa, cholera cases are now on the rise to an extent that five more cases have been registered by the 18th May 2015.

“Chirimba Township has so far registered the most cases overall with other cases registered in areas of kubaluti, Manase, Ndirande, Zingwangwa and Mdeka,” said Chiusa.

Blantyre WASH cluster is a committee which is made up of various stakeholders working towards enhancing hygienic practices. Presently, organizations party to it are UNICEF, PSI, Water for Aid, BDHO, Blantyre Water Board(BWB) and the Blantyre City Council and other NGOs such as CADECOM.

However, an inquiry into the committee`s performance reveals that lack of participation by Blantyre Water Board is greatly affecting efforts of bringing sanitation to Blantyre as most of the work relies on the availability of water.

“Despite our communications with BWB CEO there has been no response from the Board and as a result we are unable to deal with the challenges we are facing to improve the lives of Blantyre residents,” added Chausa.

According to Chausa since the first Cholera case was registered on 22 March 2015, Blantyre has so far registered 56 reported cases.

The outbreak has come in a year when BWB has been rated to have performed poorly in as far as water delivery is concerned. However the Board officials have attributed the problem to maintenance of its pumps at walkers ferry at the Shire River.

Meanwhile, efforts to speak to BWBs spokesperson Pricilla Mateyu have not yielded any results as she has been asking for more time.

As a precaution, Chausa has asked people to rush to nearest health centers and not wait to reach the Central Hospital when symptoms of Cholera have been discovered or suspected among them.

“Let me advise against people who leave their community health centres to go to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) to resist this habit because QECH doesn’t have an isolation centre for cholera cases as it is the case with community health centers,” advised Chausa.

Chausa further advises Blantyre residents to pay special attention to their personal hygiene since Cholera cases seem to be on the rise in the City.

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