ZAMBIA—The Africa CDC Southern Regional Coordinating Centre has deployed 15 technical assistance officers to help the authorities contain and stop the cholera outbreak.
This team will oversee surveillance, infection prevention and control, case management, risk communication and community engagement (RCCE), and social and behavioral change communication (SBCC) activities in the impacted areas.
The team will collaborate with the Ministry of Health Zambia, ZNPHI, and other partners to boost government efforts to contain and eradicate the cholera outbreak.
This follows an increase in cholera cases in Southern African member states, particularly Zambia and Zimbabwe.
A delegation from the Africa CDC led by Ag. Deputy Director General Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, on behalf of Director General H.E. Dr Jean Kaseya, met with Zambian Minister of Health, Honourable Sylvia Masebo, to assess the cholera situation and identify critical gaps for ongoing support.
The delegation also paid field visits to Cholera Treatment Centers (CTCs) and affected communities, working with partners such as WHO, UNICEF, JICA, US-CDC, IFRC, World Bank, and UKHSA, among others, to ensure better coordination and alignment of the necessary support and avoid duplication of efforts.
Dr. Ouma also briefed H.E. Hakainde Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia, on the Africa CDC’s commitment to alleviate the cholera outbreak with US$1 million in intervention support.
The Africa CDC will contribute to these efforts by training and deploying 500 community health workers in Kanyama and Matara districts to support RCCE and Social and Behavioural Change (SBC) programs.
It will also help with the production of IEC materials, such as 10,000 flyers and radio jingles in different local languages.
The organization will also strengthen laboratory capacity for diagnostic and genetic sequencing, as well as train 50 healthcare staff in sample collection and referral.
Africa CDC will also help to deploy 150 clinical management personnel (doctors, clinical officers, nurses, laboratory technicians, environmental health technicians, and pharmacists).
In addition, the organization will obtain medical supplies such as oral rehydration salts (ORS) and disinfectants, as well as monitor water quality.
Finally, Africa’s CDC will improve cross-border surveillance to prevent the outbreak from spreading further.
The Africa CDC Director General has confirmed the organization’s willingness to give technical assistance in the ongoing response efforts to manage and stop the Cholera outbreak in Zambia and the Southern African region.
The cholera outbreak in Zambia began in October 2023 after clusters of cases were discovered in Lusaka (Matero and Kanyama areas, presently known as the epicentre).
Since then, the outbreak has expanded to nine out of ten provinces, with a significant spike in transmission between mid-December 2023 and January 2024.
As of January 19, 2024, a total of 11,304 cases and 448 deaths had been reported from 47 districts in nine provinces, with 199 health institution deaths and 249 community deaths.
Currently, 821 individuals are being treated for cholera in various treatment institutions across the affected regions, with Lusaka accounting for 660 (80%) of the total admissions.
Five African Union (AU) Member States in Southern Africa have been experiencing protracted cholera outbreaks since 2023, including Malawi, South Africa, and Mozambique, with Zambia and Zimbabwe being the worst affected, with a continuous increase in cases and deaths in the previous three months.
Africa CDC recognizes that Zambia shares borders with eight other AU Member States, demanding regional mobilization, coordination, and preparedness among these nations, and it is necessary to discuss cholera preparedness and cross-border control.