Zambia Closer to Containment of Cholera?

23 Jan 2018 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
LUSAKA, Zambia

International health observers from the United Nations, the US Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Zambia are reported to be “happy” with the country’s response to its ongoing cholera crisis (Lusaka Times). The reports come soon after the government announced that schools, churches and markets in Zambia are now reopening three weeks after emergency disease containment measures were introduced.

More than 75 people have died and over 3,500 have been infected since the outbreak was identified in October 2017. A cholera control program has seen military being deployed across most of the country’s capital, Lusaka, which has seen violent protests against regulatory control measures such as the shuttering of street vending operations.

Local environmental activists had this week accused the country's government of mismanaging Lusaka's water system and “causing” the outbreak of the disease. Environmentalist Robert Chimambo was quoted by news outlet enca.com as saying that the best solution to the cholera outbreak was to relocate the capital city, Lusaka, describing the city's water system as being contaminated because of congestion.

“We have mismanaged ground water. The original people who built Lusaka said don’t mix water with rubbish. We didn't follow and otherwise we are now in trouble. This is a historic problem. An interesting case is a Minister who recently said we should relocate Lusaka. And I agree with him. We should do that to decongest the city,” said Chimambo.

The international health observer group reportedly described the cholera treatment hospital which was set up by government at the National Heroes Stadium as “a good initiative and a massive asset in the on-going cholera response and have also commended government for scaling-up preventive interventions in the community”.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan said that the government’s response to the cholera outbreak was “very impressive” and that government had taken a good initiative to establish the cholera treatment hospital where people were treated well in a clean environment.

It was reported last week that the Zambian government has secured more than $38 Million USD over 5 years from the African Development Bank and OPEC for the construction and rehabilitation of water supply and sanitation facilities in 16 districts in the country’s Western province.

In November 2017, the European Investment Bank announced that it was broadening its support for the Lusaka Sanitation Program in the form of a $125 Million USD loan in support of local sanitation infrastructure in the capital.