Senior Chief Tsabango has pleaded with authorities to consider closing or shifting the Area 38 dumpsite in Lilongwe for fear of a cholera outbreak.
Tsabango’s worries come at a time when Lilongwe has registered 37 cholera cases since late last year. He said 18 of the cases come from areas surrounding the site.
Making a plea when Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi held a meeting on Tuesday with community leaders at Mchitanjiru in the district, the chief said there is need to react swiftly to rapid urbanisation that the area is experiencing by, among other activities, considering shifting the dump site.
“We are fighting the cholera battle, and clearly the presence of the dumpsite is not helping our cause. The idea of having this site here does not make sense anymore as more and more people have come to live here,” he said.
Located just after Bunda Turn Off along the M1, the dumpsite attracts people from surrounding Mchitanjiru, Muchi, Santhe, Mkombozi and Kamwana villages who pick garbage for recycling or sale.
Muluzi said his ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government and other stakeholders will look into the issue to find a lasting solution to disease outbreaks the areas face.
He asked community leaders to continue engaging their communities and exchange ideas as the country continues to explore the best practices of defeating the disease.
“We have noted massive improvements in the cholera situation in other districts and we are hopeful that the same will happen in Lilongwe,” said Muluzi.
Malawi has so far recorded 265 cases and four deaths. Currently, 15 patients are being treated in different health facilities. n