Traders and communities in and around Lilongwe are on high alert, following revelations that the cholera outbreak in the city has now hit ‘devil’ street, a popular red light spot for fun revelers.
The place is usually full of activity, especially at night, owing to the several bars and lodges dotted along the street, which lies behind the Lilongwe produce market and main bus terminal.
Not only does it serve the local population but also those from Tanzania, Zambia and Burundi, with buses plying between Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi using the location as their take off place.
Sources at Lilongwe District Health Office (DHO) have told Malawi News that since the outbreak of the disease in Lilongwe, Bwaila hospital has been treating about five to six people who are staying or plying their businesses from ‘devil’ street.
They also believe the source of the Cholera outbreak in Lilongwe City is the same area, as people travelling from Tanzania and Zambia, where the outbreak continues to claim a lot of lives, are not properly screened.
When contacted, Lilongwe District health Officer Alinafe Mbewe however told Malawi News that only one case was recorded from the street and the patient was discharged.
When quizzed as to why her office is disinfecting lodges and rest houses along the street, Mbewe said all her office did is to intervene and prevent the spread of the outbreak.
“We are handling all cholera cases within the district and all health facilities are on the alert to monitor the situation,” she said.
She disclosed that they have designated camps within the district and they are providing awareness and sensitization.
According to Mbewe, as of Wednesday, Bwaila District Hospital had treated about 39 cases of cholera and two of the patients were still admitted at the hospital.
Malawi Healthy Equity Network Executive director Gorge Jobe has stressed on the need to give ‘Devil’ Street and other entry points the needed attention.
He adds that the Lilongwe City Assembly and Ministry of Health should combat congestions in lodging places at the street and that those coming from Tanzania and Zambia should either be observed for any Cholera signs or be given antibiotics right away. “We need Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) stationed at the Devil Street and all entry point “said Jobe.
Minister of Health and Population Atupele Muluzi recently said although the
Cholera situation is worsening, it has not yet reached the stage where it can be regarded as an epidemic.
He said many people are still not applying basic measures of hygiene at home and this was a contributing factor to the spread of the disease.
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