In an urgent response to the escalating cholera outbreak in Zambia, President Hakainde Hichilema has declared a crucial shift towards domestic cholera vaccine production. Addressing the media at Community House, President Hichilema pledged the government’s unwavering commitment to do everything possible to ensure the availability of vaccines, asserting that this strategic move is vital for effectively containing the disease.
President Hichilema announced that stringent and costly measures would be implemented to prevent future cholera outbreaks, underlining the gravity of the situation. To address the root causes of cholera, he emphasized the necessity of constructing roads and drainages in compounds, irrespective of the associated costs, to facilitate better access for emergency services. The President highlighted that the absence of infrastructure in certain compounds creates a conducive environment for cholera to thrive.
In a forward-looking directive, President Hichilema mandated that all new settlements must undergo comprehensive servicing, including the provision of water, roads, and drainages, before being allocated to residents. This proactive approach aims to eliminate potential breeding grounds for cholera and fortify the country’s defenses against future outbreaks.
Health Advisor Roma Chilengi, speaking on behalf of President Hichilema, disclosed that one million doses of cholera vaccines are expected to arrive in the country on January 14, 2024. These vaccines, provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the current outbreak, will play a pivotal role in the ongoing efforts to combat the cholera crisis.
Health Minister Sylvia Masebo announced her intention to invoke the Public Health Act, to introduce measures aimed at controlling and preventing the further spread of cholera. By leveraging this legislation, Masebo aims to enforce laws that will contribute to the eradication of cholera, showcasing the government’s resolute stance on public health.
In a symbolic gesture of support and acknowledgment of the response teams, President Hichilema is scheduled to visit the National Cholera Treatment Centre at the National Heroes Stadium and other cholera treatment centers in Lusaka.