In response to the recent surge in anthrax cases in Zambia, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has issued a directive to all Local Authorities across the country.
In an official statement released by Chila Namaiko, Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Local Authorities have been instructed to strengthen their inspection efforts and rigorously enforce the Public Health Act to contain and prevent further anthrax spread.
The Ministry’s directive also calls upon Local Authorities to collaborate with relevant stakeholders through their health departments to ensure strict adherence to public health regulations, especially concerning the handling and sale of meat products.
As of Wednesday this week, Zambia reported 335 cases of anthrax across the country, with the Southern Province recording the highest number of cases at 269. Tragically, two deaths have been recorded in the Southern Province.
Mr. Maambo Haamaundu, the Permanent Secretary (Administration), emphasized the critical importance of heightened inspections by Local Authorities to ensure that meat traders have their products certified by health inspectors. This is vital to prevent consumers from being exposed to this deadly disease.
In light of the anthrax outbreak, the ministry has strongly urged the public to purchase meat and meat products from sources that can be traced and verified. Buying such products from unknown or untraceable sources is strongly discouraged.
The Ministry is committed to working closely with key line-ministries and other stakeholders to enhance surveillance and public awareness efforts, educating the public about the importance of adhering to health measures, as stated by Mr. Namaiko.
Furthermore, the directive issued by the Permanent Secretary also instructs Local Authorities to enforce all necessary by-laws and regulations to curb a reported cholera outbreak in certain parts of the country.
The Ministry urges Local Authorities to utilize various means, such as megaphones, community radio stations, and flyers, to raise public awareness about cholera prevention.
The public is also encouraged to maintain essential hygiene practices, including keeping their environment clean and regularly washing their hands with soap and clean water after using the toilet and before handling food.
The Ministry remains steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding public health and ensuring the safety and well-being of all citizens.