In a significant stride towards controlling the ongoing cholera outbreak, Zambia has commenced the administration of 1.4 million World Health Organization (WHO)-supported vaccines. President Hakainde Hichilema acknowledged the crucial support, emphasizing that the vaccines provide a substantial boost to the nation’s robust cholera response.
The outbreak, while being addressed actively, remains a concern, prompting a call from President Hichilema for citizens to persist in taking precautions and adhering to health guidelines. Expressing gratitude to all partners collaborating in the fight against cholera, the President underscored the collective effort required to curb the spread and eliminate the disease.
The Ministry of Health has initiated the phased deployment of oral cholera vaccines (OCV), with a focus on high-risk transmission areas in Lusaka Province, including Matero, Kanyama, Chipata, and Chawama in the initial phase. This strategic approach aims to target regions with the highest susceptibility to transmission.
Ministers of Health, Local Government and Rural Development, Water Development and Sanitation, and Community Development converged in George Compound to administer the first dose of the 1.7 million cholera vaccines. The distribution marks a critical step in the nation’s comprehensive strategy to combat the cholera epidemic.
Notably, the National Heroes Stadium, designated as the National Cholera Treatment Centre, reported no deaths among cholera patients in the past 24 hours. Health Minister Sylvia Masebo expressed relief and commended the dedicated efforts of health workers in saving lives.
Masebo, during the launch of the oral cholera vaccine at the United Church of Zambia George Congregation, urged communities to ensure timely hospital visits for patients. She revealed that a significant number of brought-in-dead cases involve children below five years old.
Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator Penelope Campbell pledged the UN system’s collaboration with the government on a multi-year plan for cholera vaccines, ensuring readiness for potential outbreaks. Water Development and Sanitation Minister Mike Mposha outlined plans to empty 20,000 pit latrines to curb cholera’s spread.
Community Development and Social Services Minister Doreen Mwamba stressed the importance of cleanliness in communities, while Local Government and Rural Development Minister Gary Nkombo assured that the ministry had received adequate logistics to clear garbage in cholera hotspots in Lusaka.