Kilimanjaro steps up measures against cholera

By Arusha Times Correspondent

Kilimanjaro region has stepped up several measures to contain cholera, a water-borne communicable disease which has lately wreaked havoc in various regions, killing at least 100.

The regional commissioner Amos Makala has ordered local authorities to improve sanitation in all public places, including restaurants, markets, guest rooms, family homes and residential neighbourhoods.

He said although no cholera case has been reported in Kilimanjaro, the densely-populated region is not safe from the disease which has spread to 17 regions with 8,000 reported to have been hospitalized.

Cholera has already been reported in neighouring Arusha and Tanga regions and could easily spread to Kilimanjaro given the high traffic of movement of people. He called on the heatlh officers to spearhead the campaign against the deadly disease by urging people to avoid drinking unboiled water and littering the streets.

Other measures include use of lavatories, washing hands and cooking utensils as well as foodstuffs purchased from the markets such as fruits and vegetables and to avoid eating in unhygienic joints along the roads.

Mr. Makalla said treatment camps set up to contain the disease would also be used to sensitize the public on the dangers of cholera.

The regional medical officer Mtumwa Mwako confirmed that no case has been reported but 15 people with symptoms of the disease were recently brought into the treatment centres for examination.

In Tanga region, special treatment camps have been set up in five wards in Handeni district where the disease is reported to have killed at least six people there while another centre for receiving those with symptoms of the deadly disease has been established at Kivesa within the district headquarters.

The treatment centres are at Ndolwa, Kwamkono, Segera, Kwamatuku and Kwamnele where the deaths occurred, according to the district health officer Credianus Mgimba. He dismissed claims that the outbreak of the disease has been caused by climate change, a phenomenon associated with global warming and instead attributed it to poor hygiene, including drinking unsafe water and eating without washing hands properly.

He pleaded to the residents of the district to take urgent measures to contain cholera which has also been reported in other parts of Tanga and other regions.

Outbreak of communicable diseases, including cholera and other diarrhoeal ailments, has been blamed on failure by villagers in Handeni to use toilets, according to the district health officer Ms Geraldina Mtungi.