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Fears of cholera grips Mponela communities

Precious Mzungu some communities still practicing open defecation in nearby bushes…..

Fear has griped communities surrounding Mponela trading centre’s market where solid wastes have been left to rot for months now without being collected to the dumping site, the council has closed its ears to clean the market besides being reminded all the time especially now when the district is registering alarming cholera cases.
The solid wastes are becoming a worrisome development to the market users resulting to breeding of flies all over the market which poses a threat to people contacting cholera due to running water which will be carrying the wastes to different directions.
All eyes are set with the council for only watching the solid wastes to rot at anybody’s care, heaps upon heaps of solid wastes are being piled at one place and this is creating panic to the market users and the surrounding communities that cholera is at their door-step.
Dowa District Council’s Director of Administration Thomas Mwafongo, has admitted that the solid wastes at Mponela market and in other markets takes long before collecting to dumping places among other reasons, the council has no ground labourers.
Mwafongo said the vacancy rate in all councils including Dowa is very high which government alone cannot resolve hence a great need for partners support as they implement their various interventions in the district.
He said the council received from central government K65 million saying this money was not enough to cater for all critical positions in service deliveries hence partners can come in to fill the gap to assist the Dowa communities.
The officer challenged partners to give the council like K1 million to employ ground labourers on temporary basis assuring them that Mponela market will look differently than yesterday and during the coming financial year, these employed labourers will be budgeted for.
…..‘’With a little resource you can provide to the council to reduce vacancy rate in the next 10 years the council will be well-staffed with many ground labourers to do the job,’’….said Mwafongo.
He called for more sensitization awareness campaigns on cholera outbreak in the district and not only donors coming in for Open Defecation Free [ODF] status pleading with the partners to start themselves supporting their council for a change in the lives of people.
In her remarks, District Environmental Health Officer [DEHO] for Dowa Ellen Ndhlobvu, lamented that there is a 40 percent critical shortage of human resource in the health sector to reach out to all with cholera awareness messages.
Ndhlobvu said one Health Surveillance Assistant [HSA] looks after 1000 people saying with the population of over 900,000 people in the district, this is a challenge, adding that in most areas of the district, there are no HSA’s meaning that cholera messages and chlorine will not reach these people.
….’’Most areas are vacant with no HSAs, shortage of staff has affected us, we are already in a challenge and cholera is continuing causing havoc to our communities for prevention, management and cure,’’…she said.
As of 28th December, 2022 Dowa district has registered 306 cumulative cases of cholera with 9 deaths, Mvera Mission and Mvera Army are reported to have registered many cholera cases because communities there drink unprotected water from shallow wells due to the fact that boreholes are a challenge.

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