Ministry of Health (MoH) says it is prepared to contain any water or food-borne infection following the opening of schools where the school feeding programme is implemented.
MoH spokesperson Joshua Malango said in an interview yesterday in Lilongwe that government is aware of how cholera could easily spread among school children as parts of the country are experiencing an outbreak.
“We have intensified the prevention of cholera through campaign messages to all schools across the country and our health surveillance assistants are working where there are feeding programmes to ensure that hygiene is not compromised,” he said.
Malango urged teachers and guardians to ensure that pupils use clean cups and plates when getting the porridge from schools under the programme.
He said the major challenge in the fight against cholera outbreak in schools where the feeding programme is running is that children still use water from unprotected sources like rivers to wash their cups and plates.
MoH, with support from World Food Programme (WFP), started the school feeding programme in 24 selected primary schools in 1994, which was later extended to more schools in the country.
The programme reduces absenteeism caused by lack of food, resulting in high enrolment in schools benefiting from the programme.
Speaking in an interview, a member of Dedza’s Mafutsa Primary School Parents and Teachers Association (PTA), Lameck Tsumba said the school management has intensified preventive measures.
Meanwhile, the ministries of Health and Education, Science and Technology are working together to spread messages in schools on the dangers of cholera which started in Karonga a month ago.
According to MoH, current statistics indicate that Karonga has recorded 155 cases, Lilongwe has 18, Nkhata Bay has 18, Salima has 5, Dowa has two while Kasungu has one. n