Saulos Chilima condemns ‘satanic preachers’ on cholera
‘Don’t listen to those misguided characters who preach that drugs or medicines are satanic’
Vice President Saulos Chilima Friday challenged regional ministers to come up with urgent ways of ending the spread of cholera in Africa.
He hinted one such ways is to condemn what he called “misguided characters who preach that drugs or medicines are satanic”.
Chilima was speaking in Lilongwe when he opened the High-Level Emergency Ministerial Meeting on Cholera and Climate Related Public Health Emergencies.
Chilima’s call comes as Africa has recorded over 127,000 cases of cholera in 13 countries resulting in about 3,000 deaths.
Of the cases, 52,455 cases are from Malawi where 1, 623 people have died from the disease.
Chilima called for close collaboration among African countries in fighting the spread of cholera.
According to Chilima, Malawi remains committed to fighting the pandemic, citing an example of the Tithetse Cholera campaign launched last month
He, however, observed that Malawi continues to encounter a number of social challenges bordering on religious beliefs, misinformation and disinformation.
“We appeal to our religious and traditional leaders to stand up to the occasion and help subordinates to access cholera treatment.
“This is a matter of life and death. Don’t listen to those misguided characters who preach that drugs or medicines are satanic.
“The last time I checked, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and researchers in the medical profession were all created in the image of God and I haven’t heard any declaration to the contrary. Please ignore such satanic preachers who are the devil’s mentors,” Chilima said.
The meeting was organised by the Africa Centre for Disease Control through the African Union, the World Health Organisation and Unicef.
In a pre-recorded message, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said globally about 24 countries are fighting cholera.
Ghebreyesus said last year the number of cholera outbreaks rose by 50 percent, adding that his year could be worse.
According to Ghebreyesus, nobody must die of cholera.
He said the best approach to fight cholera is addressing water, sanitation and hygiene challenges in vulnerable communities.
Global Cholera Champion on Cholera Control, Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema, has said in 2022 a total of 29 countries reported cholera outbreaks globally.
In a message delivered by Zambia Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo, Hichilema said since the beginning of this year, 13 African Union countries have recorded cholera outbreaks, seven of which are in Southern Africa.
He said a combination of surveillance, safe water and vaccine are effective remedies for cholera countries.
Hichilema has appealed to cholera hit countries to contain the spread to avoid it spreading to other countries.
The meeting has attracted experts and ministers from Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.