Editor's Comment

Fake yellow fever certificates spell death

THE sale of yellow fever certificates openly at Intercity Bus Terminus in Lusaka is a risk to the health of the nation and the world at large.
Intercity Bus Terminus, by its nature, is a link which sees many travellers leave for various destinations abroad and local.
Though the World Health Organisation says Zambia is no longer a high risk country for yellow fever, there is still a risk for some travellers, especially those who leave the country for destinations where yellow fever is endemic.
Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes and so if a traveller is already infected from the point of origin, there are high chances of spreading the disease in their destination or contracting it if they are not vaccinated against the disease.
In its toxic stage, yellow fever makes the skin and the white part of the eye turn yellow (jaundice), abdominal pain and vomiting, sometimes blood, decreased urination, bleeding from nose, mouth and eyes, slowing of the heart rate, low heart rate, liver and kidney failure and brain dysfunction, including delirium, seizures and coma.
With these possible ailments, which can lead to death, it is important that travellers get vaccinated.
While the sale of the yellow fever certificates openly means travellers avoid getting the vaccinations and paying the K450, the risks of not doing so are more and dire.
It is said that prevention is better than cure and this holds true in this case.
When one is infected by the virus that causes yellow fever, they have to pay more money and spend more time, a burden that would be less costly if vaccination was sought in the first place.
From the investigations carried out at Intercity Bus Terminus, the process to obtain a certificate is very simple.
One just has to ask where to obtain the document from and they will be directed.
We all know that things do not come free and Government needs money to conduct its operations to the satisfaction of citizens.
That is the reason the fee for vaccination against yellow fever is higher and considering the fact that the vaccines are not manufactured locally but imported.
There is therefore the need for travellers to take into account the cost of procuring the vaccines while at the same time bearing in mind a personal responsibility over their health.
Surely, would one want to risk their health at a fee of K50, the cost of the fake yellow fever certificate at Intercity Bus Terminus against assertions which state that 20 to 50 percent of yellow fever patients do not survive the disease?
This story should move both health personnel and the police to institute further investigations into the happenings at Intercity Bus Terminus.
Police statement that they cannot arrest anyone because no-one has made an official complaint is a reactive stance which does not stop crimes.
This is a case that calls for all stakeholders to be proactive and do their part to stop the sale of fake certificates so that the disease stays out of Zambia and no life is lost.

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