‘SADC must pursue integrated measures to combat cholera’

DODOMA: TANZANIA suggests that member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should pursue integrated measures and multisectoral approach, which includes the water sector and urban planning, in order to find a lasting solution to combat cholera and other epidemic diseases.

The proposal was made yesterday by Prime Minister Mr Kassim Majaliwa on behalf of President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, during a virtual extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government.

The sole item on the agenda for the meeting, which was presided over by the Community’s Chairman and President of Angola, Joao Manuel Lourenco, was the outbreak of cholera throughout the SADC region.

According to the press statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Majaliwa participated in the summit from his office at Mlimwa, Dodoma, which aimed to receive and consider report regarding the cholera outbreak in several member states, their state of preparedness and response to the outbreak.

“This is based on the fact that society as a whole and every citizen have the responsibility to take precautions by ensuring that they observe and gain an understanding of the issues of global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for personal benefit, society, and the entire region,” he said.

He added, “We recommend that in order to effectively contain this outbreak, a great deal of effort be focused on enhancing the infrastructure and accessibility to sanitary facilities and clean water in our communities.”

Ministers for Health, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, Water Minister, Jumaa Aweso, together with Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ambassador Mbarouk Nassor Mbarouk also participated in the meeting.

Earlier, in opening the meeting, SADC Chairman, President Lourenco, stressed the need for member states to improve communication amongst their specialists in order to support one another in containing the disease’s spread, particularly in border regions.

Furthermore, he emphasized that in order to combat epidemics, the leaders of the member states ought to give priority to innovative technologies and research.

“We have to make sure that these pandemic issues can be met by our health systems,” he stressed

The presidents who participated in the summit includes, Mr Phillipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Mr Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi), Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe), Haikande Hichelema (Zambia), and Felix Tshisekedi (DRC).

Others includes the representatives of Heads of State from South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, and Madagascar.

The SADC summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the organisations.

Since last year, five SADC countries have reportedly cholera outbreaks, accounting for 73 per cent of all the cases recorded in Africa: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

On January 29th, this year, the SADC Council of Ministers convened virtually to discuss measures to prevent and control cholera which some member states have experienced since the onset of the rainy season.

The Council of Ministers received a report of the meeting of the SADC Ministers of Health held on January 27th, this year on the cholera situation in some member states, the preparedness of and response to cholera outbreaks in the region.

Angola Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Tete Antonio and Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, emphasised the necessity of consolidating regional efforts in combating cholera and other climate-related diseases.

He emphasised the need for the region to collectively take comprehensive and coordinated action guided by the expertise of health professionals and cooperating partners such as the Africa CDC, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and World Food Programme.

“In light of this situation, it is imperative that we respond to this challenge as a united region since no single country can combat a disease like cholera that transcends borders,” he stated.

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