"Zambia's Health Authorities Mobilize to Confront Worst Cholera Outbreak in a Decade"

Zambia is grappling with one of its most severe cholera outbreaks in recent years, with 351 deaths and nearly 9,000 active cases reported. Health workers are working tirelessly to contain the crisis, which could become the worst the country has experienced since the first outbreak in 1977.

On Friday, relatives of patients gathered outside a stadium in the capital, Lusaka, seeking information about their loved ones. One of them expressed his distress, saying, “They are announcing names here, but I can’t hear my nephew’s. I don’t know if my nephew is dead or alive.”

President Hakainde Hichilema has urged people to relocate from urban areas to rural villages due to poor sanitation in densely populated urban areas, which provides a conducive environment for cholera outbreaks.

The ban on funerals and family burials remains in effect, with the health ministry planning to introduce more emergency measures. Sylvia Masebo, the Zambian Health Minister, emphasized, “I’ve informed them that they cannot hold funerals at home or participate in burials. I’ve also advised the public not to attend funerals anymore.”

Masebo stressed the importance of avoiding funerals, especially for cholera victims, as attending could pose a risk to one’s life. She noted that while initially challenging, the message is gradually sinking in among the populace.

Cholera is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Experts have attributed the outbreak to climate change, which has caused heavy rainfall, leading to the contamination of drinking water in densely populated, impoverished areas.

Piers Potter


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