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By Mhlaba Memela | Sep 08, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet has tasked five departments to stem the spread of the H1N1 flu virus in the region.

The departments of health, education, local government, social development and transport have been tasked to visit all public institutions to promote an awareness campaign against the spread of the virus.

The department of health has also asked all health workers to educate people at their churches about the influenza.

The campaign will be taken to shopping malls, taxi ranks and other public areas.

KwaZulu-Natal has recorded two deaths so far - both involving pregnant women who died after contracting the disease.

Officials are now awaiting confirmation on four other deaths from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

"The objective is to prevent the spread as it is taking the lives of the young and pregnant women," said health department head Sibongile Zungu.

About 820 people have been reported infected by the virus in KwaZulu-Natal.

"However, new cases are expected to be communicated by the NICD," said Zungu.

She said they had embarked on a campaign to visit churches to inform people about ways to control the disease.

Zungu said hundreds of people who had contracted the H1N1 influenza had been treated and are well.

"This includes the first case that was detected as having this type of influenza. It was a four-year-old from Mexico, who is alive and well.

"Our emphasis is for people to go back to personal hygiene practices," she said.

Zungu emphasised that pregnant women, the elderly whose immunity had been compromised, those with diabetes, lung and heart diseases were at high risk.

She urged people to visit the clinic as soon as they developed influenza symptoms.

"In KwaZulu-Natal the numbers will soon reach 1000 and we need everyone to play a role.

"Church committees must discuss this matter in their meetings and the department will intensify its public education campaign," said Zungu.

She said many diseases could be defeated if communities rallied against them. Zungu said these diseases included HIV and Aids, and emergent communicable ones.

"If all people could do what they are supposed to do in preventing the spread of HIV infection, a lot of money could be released to focus on other things such as revamping our hospitals," she said.


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