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April 24, 2024

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On 11 April 2022, a cholera outbreak was declared in Zambia, with the index case reported in Mtendere compound. By 18 April 2022, the outbreak had spread to other areas within Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, with a cumulative total of 16 suspected cases, of which 8 were confirmed. The cases were distributed as follows: Lusaka Province – 7 (Lusaka District 12; Mtendere 4, Kabangwe 1, Kamwala 1, and Matero 1), Chilanga District (Midles-west 2, Apolo 1, and ZESCO Kalundu 2), and Northern Province 5 (Nsama District – Nsumbu 5). These areas are densely populated, and the risk of further spread of the outbreak was high due to inadequate sanitation and lack of access to clean and safe water.

At mid-April, there were already reports of suspected cases in the Nsumbu area in Nsama District in the Northern Province, but laboratory results came back negative for all the cases, providing some relief. However, Zambia continues to face challenges in ensuring adequate access to sustainable water and sanitation conditions for its population, putting the country at risk of periodic cholera outbreaks.

Prevailing risk factors such as managed safe drinking water, poor access to sustainably adequate sanitary facilities, and inadequate hygiene practices at the household level contribute to the ongoing issue. Defective sanitary facilities, including leaking sewer lines that are left unattended, encroachment of urbanization and industrialization on important facilities such as water recharge points and sewer lines, and poor community practices such as indiscriminate disposal of household waste and failure to subscribe for services further exacerbate the situation.

The Ministry of Health in Zambia has been working to contain the outbreak by providing medical care to those affected, conducting awareness campaigns on proper hygiene practices, and advocating for improved water and sanitation infrastructure in affected areas. International organizations and NGOs have also been providing support to address the crisis.

Cholera is a highly contagious and deadly waterborne disease that can spread rapidly in areas with poor sanitation and lack of access to clean water. It causes severe diarrhea and dehydration, and if left untreated, can lead to death within hours. In Zambia, efforts to address the underlying risk factors and improve water and sanitation infrastructure are crucial to prevent future cholera outbreaks and ensure the health and well-being of the population.

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(IFRC)
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
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ZRCS
Humanitarian Impact
  95,514
      Affected Persons
15,919
        Families
⇣ DownLoad Report
MDRZM016f1.pdf

OCHA coordinates the global emergency response to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises.

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