ZAMBIA—In collaboration with the Ministry of Health Zambia, the Africa CDC has announced the deployment of 500 community-based volunteers (CBVs) in the Matero and Kanyama sub-districts of Lusaka, Zambia.

This strategic assistance to the Republic of Zambia intends to fill gaps in cholera response efforts and healthcare services, particularly in cholera hotspot areas, and to promote a proactive community-focused approach to public health.

The CBVs, who will be deployed for three (3) months, are trusted members of their communities and will act as a key link between residents and medical providers.

The CBV will provide assistance with health education, hygiene, and health promotion, community mobilization, psychosocial support, including stigma reduction, and dis/misinformation management at the local level.

This deployment is a significant step forward in Africa CDC’s commitment to advancing health equity and empowering communities to take control of their health.

CBVs will connect individuals to healthcare services through personalized interactions at the community level, removing obstacles to access and information and ensuring that community members receive timely care and treatment.

CBVs will disseminate knowledge about cholera prevention and good hygiene practices, encouraging community members to actively participate in the battle against cholera.

Dr. Lul Riek, speaking on behalf of Africa CDC Director General Dr. Jean Kaseya, stated that the call for community health workers is consistent with the Africa Union Heads of State and Government decision to expedite the recruitment, training, and deployment of 2 million Community Health Workers (CHWs) throughout the continent.

He went on to state that this will ensure that the Africa CDC’s New Public Health Order calls for strong health workforce development and a robust network of community healthcare workers is maintained.

Honourable Sylvia Masebo, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Zambia, who officiated the CBVs deployment, stated that engaging the communities on Cholera is critical and significant because all outbreaks begin within communities and end with active participation and engagement by community members.

 The participation of volunteers recruited from local communities demonstrates the transformative power of community-led solutions and underscores Africa CDC’s commitment to building health systems across the continent.

In addition, Africa CDC assistance to Zambia’s cholera response efforts includes the deployment of 15 technical assistance officers, the creation of information, education, and communication materials, the strengthening of laboratory capacity for genomic sequencing, and the training of 50 healthcare workers in sample collection and referral.

For the next three months, the organization has also recruited and deployed 150 clinical management professionals, including 20 medical officers, 100 nurses, four laboratory scientists, 16 clinical officers, and ten environmental officers. 

The Africa CDC will also assist with the acquisition of medical supplies such as Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and disinfectants, as well as boosting cross-border surveillance to prevent the outbreak from spreading further.  

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