WHO Zambia launches Cholera Assessment Mission in Central Province amid growing outbreak
In response to the increasing number of cholera cases in Zambia’s Central Province, WHO Zambia has undertaken a crucial mission to assess the situation on the ground and map areas for immediate support.
On 15 December 2023, Central Province recorded its first cholera case in Mumbwa district. Since then, the province has witnessed a surge in cholera cases across ten districts, with Chibombo, Kabwe, and Mumbwa being high case-yielding districts. As of 04 February 2024, Central Province has recorded 1,146 cases with 36 deaths. Sixty-five percent of the deaths are community deaths.
This has necessitated the urgent need for interventions to prevent further escalation of the disease. Working with the Ministry of Health at the National, Provincial, and District levels and in collaboration with the Zambia National Institute for Public Health (ZNPHI), WHO Zambia has conducted a thorough assessment of the cholera situation in the province. The team has evaluated the extent of the outbreak, identified high-risk areas, and understood the underlying factors contributing to the rapid spread of the disease.
“Mapping out these areas across response pillars for support will not only address the immediate needs but also help us to implement targeted interventions that will build resilience against future outbreaks,” said Ms. Precious Kalubula, WHO Zambia National Professional Officer for Surveillance and Team Lead.
The preliminary assessment report indicates that the outbreak in areas like Makululu, Katondo, and Nakoli compounds of Kabwe district and fishing camps in Mumbwa and Shibuyunji is exacerbated by inadequate water, sanitation, hygiene infrastructure, and high population mobility.
Since the outbreak declaration, the provincial team has been implementing its response plan with some challenges, thus slowing the implementation of some activities needed to curb the spread of the disease in the province. However, technical and financial support from partners like WHO, Discover Health, World Vision, and others have proven instrumental in bolstering the provincial response efforts.
“I am happy this assessment has been done because now, as Central Province, we know we will improve the quality of our response. With the gaps identified and solutions recommended, we are confident our health system will be strengthened for this and future outbreaks,” said Dr Isaac Banda, Provincial Health Specialist.
WHO Zambia's visit to the Central Province is part of a comprehensive response and preparedness strategy to assess the cholera situation, identify key challenges, and devise targeted interventions for immediate and long-term support.
The outcomes of this mission are expected to address the current cholera outbreak and lay the groundwork for a more resilient and prepared healthcare system in the face of future challenges.
WHO is committed to supporting the Government of Zambia’s response efforts. Its coordinated response demonstrates the importance of national and global collaboration in tackling outbreaks and safeguarding the well-being of communities.
World Health Organization Country Office, Zambia
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