CHIEF Chamuka of the Lenje people is worried that religious sects in his chiefdom are telling members not to take their children for the forth-coming nation-wide vaccination exercise which starts this month.
Speaking in Chisamba last week, in view of the imminent mass drug administration exercise to eliminate elephantiasis, Chief Chamuka said government must find a way of compelling parents to take their children for vaccination.
He implored his subjects to ensure that they are vaccinated against lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, when the vaccination exercise kicks off sometime this month.
“We have some religious groups that do not allow their members to participate in the vaccination programme.
These children are properties of the government, so why should they not go for vaccination.
“We urge Government to come up with a law that will compel these people to avail their children for vaccination,” Chief Chamuka said.
The chief commended officials from the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health for sensitising his people on the lymphatic filariasis diseases.
Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic infection that can result in an altered lymphatic system and cause abnormal enlargement of body parts like legs and arms.
The disease is caused by the filarial worm which is transmitted from one person to the other by the female mosquito when it takes a blood meal.
Government is currently conducting elephantiasis preventive measures in different parts of the country.
“We are grateful to the government that it has brought this disease to our attention. They also enlightened us on preventive measures. Previously people were claiming that elephantiasis is caused by witchcraft,” Chief Chamuka said.
He said the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health has been sensitising headmen on the disease so that they could encourage their subjects to participate in the lymphatic filariasis vaccination exercise as well as the child health week.