Health officers in Zanzibar have appealed to the media to join in the fight against cholera, especially by promoting hygiene standards. The effort should include encouraging the people to observe cleanliness in their surroundings; boil drinking water and exclusively use toilets.
“Media’s assistance in fighting cholera at this time is crucial. Some people remain reluctant to change behaviour. They still dwell in dirty surroundings and violate the ban on the sale of fresh food,” Dr Mohammed Dahoma, the Director of Prevention, said.
He told media reporters at the weekly press media briefing on ‘cholera update’ that the admission of seven patients on Saturday night alone is an indication that people are not observing hygiene.
“We have been recording a decline in cholera cases in recent weeks and were heading closer to closing all ‘Cholera Treatment Centres (CTCs)”, but now we begin to get worried again. We ask people to remain cautious so that the disease is controlled,” Dr Dahoma said.
He added that impromptu inspections continue to unearth stubborn fresh food hawkers, and that some people, out of the 56 that were told to improve on their hygiene standards, in their homes will be arraigned in Court after failing to comply.
Dr Dahoma said that as part of efforts to help improve health and stop outbreaks like cholera, all employees in kiosks and restaurants and hawkers have to undergo go medical examination and proper basic training in food handling. He added that about one-thousand hawkers have received training and told to undertake health checks before resuming their conditional businesses in selected areas.
As one of the requirements food hawkers’ centres should have water and toilets for their customers. Since the outbreak of the disease last September, at least 64 people have died after more than 4,000 people got affected.
Supply of fresh food at gatherings including funerals, weddings, and the current iftar (evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset) have been indefinitely banned. Only specific gatherings are allowed under the supervision of health officers.