Cholera outbreak now in four provinces

Maputo (AIM) – The current cholera outbreak in Mozambique has claimed two lives out of 1,222 confirmed cases, according to the Deputy National Director of Public Health, Benigna Matsinhe.

Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Tuesday, Matsinhe said the most alarming situation was in Tete, where 395 cases were diagnosed in just five days. In Tete, “the spread of the disease is very rapid”, she said. The Tete districts affected by the outbreak are Tete city, Cahora Bassa, Chiuta, Magoe, Moatize and Changara.

In the northern province of Nampula, where cholera has been detected in the provincial capital, Nampula city, and in the districts of Memba, Mogovolas, Mecuburi, Muecate, Mogincual, Nacaroa, Mossuril and Rapale, the cumulative number of cases stands at 494.

In Maputo city, 278 cholera cases have been diagnosed, and there have been 93 confirmed cases in Maputo province (Matutuine, Magude and Namaacha) districts.

The Health Ministry has set up cholera treatment centres in the affected areas, and has mobilized activists to raise public awareness of the need to purify water and protect food against contamination.

“People must act to prevent the disease”, said Matsinhe. “We must all, working together, put the brakes on this disease. Diseases come from the community. It’s the community that produces the diseases”.

Since cholera is a water borne disease, the authorities are distributing water purifiers to ensure that drinking water is safe. Benigna said the public education measures also included urging people to wash raw food thoroughly before eating it, and to wash their hands after using the latrine.

Matsinhe also reported an increase in the number of cases of malaria since the start of the year. So far in 2017 1,483,121 cases of malaria have been reported, compared with 1,340,104 cases in the same period of 2016 – an increase of 10.7 per cent. The number of malaria deaths has also risen – from 234 to 288 (a 23 per cent rise).

The rise is doubtless explained by this year’s rains. In 2016, a devastating drought hit most of southern and central Mozambique, but this year torrential rains have occurred across much of the country, creating favourable conditions for the proliferation of the mosquitoes that transmit the malaria parasite.

“Right now we are engaged in a massive distribution of mosquito nets, in a campaign that will cover the entire country”, said Matsinhe, “At the same time, we are educating people on the use of insect repellents, and the need to eliminate the pools of stagnant water around houses where mosquitoes breed”.

Post published in: Africa News

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