Measures taken by health authorities to tackle a cholera outbreak in Zambia have yielded positive results, resulting in a decline in daily cases and deaths in recent weeks, a senior government official said on Friday.
Following the outbreak of the waterborne disease in October last year, health authorities quickly swung into action and put in place a multi-sectoral approach to tackle the epidemic, which has gone a long way in combating the disease. The approach saw the implementation of various measures aimed at containing the disease, which is mainly caused by the consumption of contaminated water and food, mostly in densely populated shanty compounds. “I am pleased to announce that the effective measures we have put in place, using a multi-sectoral approach, are yielding fruits,” Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo said.
Masebo said the country has seen a significant reduction in new cholera cases and deaths, and is looking forward to the end of the outbreak. Among the intervention measures put in place were to improve the water and sanitation situation in cholera hotspots, which saw the burying of shallow wells used for water, especially in Lusaka, the country’s capital, as well as addressing the problem of pit latrines. This move saw various international partners, including China, coming on board to improve the water situation through the donations of water tanks. According to Masebo, the establishment of treatment centers equipped with necessary medical supplies and personnel to manage and treat cholera was another measure that has helped in tackling the disease, while intensive public awareness campaigns aimed at educating communities have gone a long way in raising awareness of the disease.She, however, noted that the ministry will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure that preventive measures are maintained and that the community receives ongoing support in rebuilding and recovery.
According to the minister, the country recorded 169 new cases in the past 24 hours compared to 246 cases seven days ago, while Lusaka Province, which has been the epicenter of the epidemic, recorded 109 cases compared to 150 a week ago. Masebo added that the National Heroes Stadium, which was designated as a national cholera treatment center, has also seen massive reductions in the number of patients being treated, including new admissions. She said the center had 43 patients in admission as of early Friday compared to admissions of about 1,187 at the peak of the outbreak. So far, the country has recorded 18,099 cases and 671 deaths, while 17,223 people recovered from the disease.