GOVERNMENT has started rolling out the cholera vaccine.
The roll-out, which started in selected townships in the capital city, Lusaka, on Wednesday, is part of Government’s efforts to wipe out cholera, which has ravaged the country since October 2017.
During the launch of the vaccine on Wednesday, apart from government officials leading the way in embracing the vaccine, we noticed that it was mostly women who queued up for the vaccine.
It is good that after the first day of vaccination, well over 400,000 people had received the inoculation. There are, however, still a lot more people to be vaccinated to reach the two million target.
Men should take the lead in queuing as heads of households as it encourages the whole household to take up the vaccine.
Priority, however, should be given to children.
The cholera vaccine is a preventive measure. It is not an end in itself.
While Government, with the help of co-operating partners and other well-wishers, has imported the vaccines as one of the responses to cholera, citizens still have necessary precautions because the vaccine, like we have stated earlier, is not an end in itself.
We should at all times keep our surroundings sparkling clean because good hygiene has to be implemented and maintained all the time.
Good sanitation also has to be maintained.
Public health inspectors must do their work – in fact more than they have done in the past going by the filth that has been unearthed during the clean-up directed by President Edgar Lungu.
Zambia, especially the capital city, generates a lot of waste, but most of it was not getting to the designated dumpsites.
Cholera has taught us that access to safe and clean water is inevitable and Government has walked its talk by burying shallow wells and delivering clean and portable water to all the areas that need it.
That was a magnanimous decision on the part of Government.
It is perhaps time to start limiting boreholes while ensuring that citizens have proper sewer systems, thereby doing away with pit latrines.
However, while the task of sanitising the country, which we think may lead to change of mindset and attitude, is ongoing, we wish to urge Government to continue rolling out the vaccine to other parts of the country.
This should be an ongoing exercise – with or without cholera – just as it is done with other diseases.
It will be imperative for almost every citizen to access this life-saving drug because cholera has been spreading at an alarming rate.
However, we caution citizens from the danger of being greedy by accessing the second round of vaccination before others because they run the risk of overdose.
The vaccination lasts three years and this must be re-emphasised to those that might have received the dose in recent years.
Much as the vaccine is welcome, hygiene is the best because it is sustainable and less costly.