Zambia has called for increased global attention to combat and eliminate the problem of cholera in the world.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary in charge of health services Jabbin Mulwanda said the resolution is needed in order to address the drivers of the disease and accelerate the elimination of cholera.
Dr. Mulwanda said the resolution made under the strategic priority on public health preparedness and response should be considered on the agenda at the 71st World Health Assembly to be held in May this year in Geneva, Switzerland.
This is according to a press statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka by Ministry of Health Head of Communications and External Relations Stanslous Ngosa.
The Permanent Secretary proposed the resolution at the on-going World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board 142 session in Geneva, Switzerland adding that cholera still affects at least 47 countries across the globe, with an estimated 2.9 million cases reported and 95,000 deaths recorded worldwide every year.
He said there was an urgent need for a renewed focus on tackling cholera, which has become a growing public health threat that can be worsened by climate change if not effectively addressed
Dr. Mulwanda further said cholera is a disease of unfairness as it indiscriminately affects the poorest and most vulnerable populations.
The Permanent Secretary said 2017 has seen some of the worst outbreaks of cholera in recent history.
“For instance, in Zambia, we are in the midst of a devastating outbreak, where almost 4,000 cases and 77 deaths have been reported. Unfortunately, our situation is not unique. Some of our neighbouring countries have faced similar challenges,” Dr. Mulwanda said
He pointed out that lack of progress on cholera prevention signifies a lack of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said the recent launch of the ‘Ending Cholera: A Global Roadmap to 2030’ by the Global Taskforce on Cholera Control, sets out a new strategy to reduce mortality from cholera by 90 percent by the year 2030 in line with the SDGs.
Dr. Mulwanda said this will eliminate the disease in up to 20 countries, through enhancing the response to outbreaks and strengthening prevention and preparedness through a multi-sectoral approach.
The Permanent Secretary told the Geneva meeting that the ambitious objectives require high level political commitment and strategic leadership from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and member states to strengthen long term prevention and control, through improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene.
The proposed resolution, which received support from WHO member states, has since been granted by the Executive Board and will be included on the agenda items for the 71st World Health Assembly later this year.