Govt disputes MSF Cholera figues

By Times Reporter

ZAMBIA has recorded 996 new cases of cholera with 87 deaths countrywide since last year when the rainy season started contrary to the report attributed to the Medecins Sans Frontieres or Doctors without Borders (MSF) which said the number of cholera cases in the country had risen to 4,000 with 120 deaths.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Reuben Kamoto Mbewe said in an interview last Friday that the latest cholera cases were 996 from March month end to April 7 this year.

He said 982 cases were recorded in Lusaka province while the Copperbelt had recorded six cases.

Dr Mbewe said Southern Province had recorded two cases while Luapula had recorded three.
Central Province had also recorded three cases of Cholera.

Dr Mbewe said the number of deaths so far from the time cholera started this season was 87.

Acting Ministry of Health spokesperson Elizabeth Chizema said yesterday that this year’s outbreak of cholera was not the worst and that some cases were not even confirmed but were being treated as cholera cases.

“The high numbers of cases could be that even suspected cholera cases were treated as cholera cases until they were verified as otherwise,” Dr Chizema said.

Head of the MSF mission to Zambia Luke Arend was quoted on the Zambia watchdog.com site yesterday saying MSF was responding to the worst cholera outbreaks in the country for many years.

Mr Arend said cholera cases had risen to more than 4, 500 while more than 120 people had lost their lives.

According to Mr Arend, MSF teams were working around the clock to treat people affected with cholera and had set up cholera treatment centres in Matero, Chawama and Kanyama.

But Dr Chizema maintained the cholera cases were not the worst as they had not been confirmed as such.

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