Saturday, April 20, 2024

Zambia National Public Health Institute Collaborates with Government Agencies to Address Zoonotic Disease Risks Amid Drought


Amidst growing concerns over the impact of drought on public health, the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) has embarked on a collaborative effort with government departments responsible for animal health to mitigate the risks of zoonotic diseases.

Director-General of the Institute, Roma Chilengi, who also serves as President Hakainde Hichilema’s Special Assistant on Health, highlighted the potential risks associated with the drought. Chilengi emphasized that the scarcity of pasture due to the drought could lead to increased interaction between humans and wild animals, heightening the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.

Through the ZNPHI’s Pandemic Preparedness Programme, Chilengi revealed ongoing collaboration with various government institutions to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. This initiative aims to address the challenges posed by the drought and minimize the potential health implications for both humans and animals.

Chilengi made these remarks in Lusaka during the launch of the Animal Health Systems Strengthening Project, generously funded by the United Kingdom government. The project seeks to fortify existing systems to safeguard animals and humans from the threat of diseases.

British High Commissioner to Zambia, Nicholas Woolley, underscored the importance of the Animal Health Systems Strengthening Project in enhancing resilience against disease outbreaks. The initiative aligns with broader efforts to promote public health and sustainable development in Zambia.

Meanwhile, Zambia’s Livestock and Fisheries Minister, Makozo Chikote, urged local farmers to seize opportunities in the international market by transitioning from small-scale operations. Chikote emphasized the favorable conditions in Zambia for agricultural production and highlighted the potential for local farmers to contribute significantly to the global market.

Echoing these sentiments, Susan Filippini, Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to collaborating with the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries. Filippini stressed the importance of strengthening the One Health approach, which integrates human, animal, and environmental health, to enhance disease prevention and control efforts.


  1. I doubt if any disease can come from wild animals. It’s in arid regions such as Southern province where humans and livestock share shallow wells. Some parts of Muchinga and Eastern provinces have experienced the dry spell and what’s likely to occur are human to animal conflicts as animals stray into villages in search for food. This might happen in lower Zambezi as well

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