AS the rain season beckons, anxiety over a potential cholera outbreak keeps growing.
With the ravage of the 2018 cholera outbreak still fresh in the minds of many, the Lucy Mlewa Memorial Foundation has taken lead to mitigate another possible outbreak.
The Foundation on Saturday commenced its 2019 campaign to cushion the impact of water-borne diseases as it donated 150 water collection and storage buckets along with chlorine.
Beneficiaries of the initiative in Kabulonga’s Malata area and Nyumbayanga Market welcomed the gesture and called for more avenues to avoid cholera this coming rain season.
Foundation director Msaiwale Josephat Mlewa said his desire to assist his local community motivated him to donate potential deterrents to cholera.
He said the effects of the disease in the past gave him a sense of responsibility to the needs of selected people in his area.
“A wish to uplift my local community and the foundation has multiple programmes, among them the Doba garbage collection, Manzi Ni moyo buckets and chlorine (which has since commenced), the Pepani funeral tents and chairs, Mutima Wanga Sawaz Society for women and aids and orphans support and Punzila sanitary towels and computers for secondary schools,” Mlewa said.
He noted that access to improved sanitation in the capital Lusaka had fallen over the last 15 years, and over half of the population currently lacks access to even a basic sanitation service.
“At least 65 per cent of people live in low-income communities, also known as peri-urban areas, which usually lack sewers. This means they need to use on-site sanitation services such as pit latrines and septic tanks instead, which can contaminate nearby water supplies. This has a huge impact on the lowest-income urban communities, which are regularly struck in times of cholera outbreaks. Bauleni is one such community, relying heavily on privately-owned boreholes or shallow wells, where water is expensive and often contaminated with raw sewage.”
Mlewa further noted that the township lacked any recent or planned sanitation projects.
“Bauleni has no sewer lines and so pit latrines or septic tank systems are the main forms of containment. Bauleni is subdivided into individually titled plots of about 100m in size, which were originally intended to be occupied by one household. However, most plots have been subdivided to provide small units (or ‘doors’) which are rented out by the plot owner.”
Mlewa added that the Lucy Mlewa Memorial Foundation plans to provide clean drinking water through the sinking of boreholes in strategic and accessible points through the neighbourhood and the provision of chlorine and water collection buckets.
“These boreholes will be at the required depth as certified by Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company,” Mlewa said.
He assured residents in the area that where boreholes have already been sunk, chlorine would be provided to ensure that any sewerage seepage that may have occurred would not have any negative health repercussions.
“Water storage containers (20l buckets) will be provided in areas where it is not feasible to sink bore holes. In areas where the council has sunk boreholes, and put in provisions for a water meter to charge consumers, the foundation will carry the cost, so that all community members may be able to access this most basic but necessary amenity,” said Mlewa.