By Andrew Mkonda
Karonga District Commissioner (DC) Richard Hara has cautioned people not to be negligent in hygiene practices following cholera vaccination campaign underway in the district.
Speaking Wednesday during a monitoring visit to some sites where the cholera vaccine campaign is taking place Hara said the vaccine should not be taken as a license to continuing practicing unhygienic practices.
“Practicing hygiene is the only way we can fight cholera; so don’t be contented with this vaccine. You still need to intestify hygiene and sanitation in your homes,” Hara said.
He urged people to stop defecating in bushes and the lake. He said cholera is spread widely in the district within short period of time because a large number of the population is using water from the lake.
“Cholera is one of the diseases that can be prevented if people, more especially in the fishing camps, intensify hygiene and sanitation measures. But many houses in these fishing camps do not have toilets, which is very bad,” he said.
Karonga District Director for Health and Social Services, Dr Phenious Mfune said the campaign was going on very well as many people were going to the sites to get the vaccine.
“So far, since we started on Monday, we are already above half of the targeted population, which is very encouraging, Mfune said.
However, Mfune said the vaccine is not enough to cover the entire population in the district.
“We got 108,000 dosage of vaccine against the population of 369,000. Which is why we only targeted cholera hotspots such as fishing camps like Ngala, Nyungwe and Mlare,” he said.
Government through the Ministry of Health procured 108,000 cholera vaccines for Karonga District as a way of ending the epidemic in the district.
After taking the vaccine, one can take five years without catching cholera as they continue practicing good hygiene and sanitation, according to Mfune.
Since November last year, Karonga has registered about 259 cases of cholera with four deaths.