‘Improve accessibility of water services to battle cholera’

THE Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office (Parliament, Policy and Coordination), George Simbachawene, has directed all regional administrative offices and councils to cooperate with Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RUWASA) to improve accessibility of water services.

Water authorities have been instructed to ensure they meticulously treat water before supplying so that only clean and safe water is consumed by the public.

Speaking during the launching of the national plan 2023-2027 to prevent and deal with cholera, Mr Simbachawene called for concerted efforts among the councils and regional administrative offices to educate the public to build better toilets and use them for hygiene as a measure to avoid cholera outbreak.

“We must focus and put emphasis on prevention than treatment, cholera is preventable if we observe hygiene, lets educate the public, especially those in remote and rural areas as well as those living near water sources to protect them and avoid polluting them,” he insisted.

Adding “Let’s continue encouraging citizens to avoid eating cold or unhygienic prepared food as well as encouraging them to wash their hands with running water and soap before preparing food, eating and after using the toilet,” he added.

Minister Simbachawene said the programme was a result of an assessment of cholera disease in areas that are hot spots in outbreaks.

He mentioned some of the causes for the recurrence of outbreaks as lack of clean and safe water, little understanding of how to prevent the disease and lack of good toilets as well as poor use of toilets.

Mr Simbachawene said through the launched plan, they will establish sectoral cooperation and the right strategies that will enable the government to strengthen coordination activities to combat, prevent and eradicate cholera in the country by 2030.

He noted that the programme will also enable ministries, departments, institutions, regional authorities and local governments to fully participate in measures to prevent, prepare and combat cholera disease as well as restore the situation when cholera outbreak occurs.

Also, he made a special call to the ministry of health to increase monitoring and awareness to ensure no section of the public lack the information and knowledge on the best practice to prevent the disease.

Mr Simbachawene underscored the need for smooth implementation of the activities among all programme actors to meet the target set within specified time.

Recently, the regions of Katavi, Ruvuma, Kigoma, Rukwa and Manyara have been experiencing cholera outbreaks in some councils, where from February 19 to March 15 this year, there have been reports of 60 patients (Ruvuma 1, Kigoma 7, Katavi 34 and Rukwa 18).

For her part, Save the Children Country Director, Ms Angela Kauleni said that there is need to increase strength and scope to ensure that adequate training on how to deal with and protect against a cholera outbreak is provided to community health workers at the primary level, especially in peripheral areas.

She said that in the period from January to March 2023, the organisation in collaboration with the regions and district chief physicians has succeeded in providing education to the community where approximately 5,000 people have been given knowledge on how to prevent themselves from cholera.

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