In an official statement, Zambia’s Minister of Health, Hon. Sylvia T. Masebo, has provided an update on a concerning matter – the emergence of a new cholera case in Lusaka District.
Cholera, a waterborne disease that tends to escalate during the rainy season, poses a significant public health risk. The confluence of heavy rainfall and potential contamination of water sources heightens the danger.
To address this issue, healthcare teams have been mobilized to contain the outbreak, provide immediate medical care, and implement preventive measures.
Cholera is known for its highly contagious and potentially deadly nature, demanding immediate attention to safeguard the community.
Cholera outbreaks in Zambia are typically recorded between October and June of the following year, primarily in densely populated areas of Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces, as well as in fishing camps and districts of Northern, Luapula, Southern, and Central provinces.
Historically, these regions have been the main hotspots for cholera in Zambia. The country has successfully managed outbreaks in Eastern, Northern, and Luapula Provinces since January 2023.
The first confirmed cholera case in Lusaka District this year was reported on October 15th, 2023. The index case was a 21-year-old female who sought medical attention at Kanyama Hospital on October 14th, presenting with acute watery diarrhea and vomiting.
She was in a state of shock but was successfully resuscitated by the healthcare team at the hospital.
Rapid response teams were immediately dispatched into the community for contact tracing, uncovering a community death that is suspected to be linked to the index case prior to the outbreak’s confirmation.
The Minister urged collective efforts to prevent the outbreak from escalating and called on the public to take proactive measures to protect themselves and their communities.
These measures include; Strict adherence to good hand hygiene, especially after using the toilet and before meals, Consuming only boiled or chlorinated water and avoiding untreated water from open sources, Proper waste disposal and avoiding open defecation by using latrines and sanitation facilities, Avoiding cold or leftover foods unless stored and reheated properly at the time of consumption.
Refraining from consuming food sold on the streets and washing fruits and vegetables with clean and safe water.
Seeking prompt medical attention for symptoms like severe diarrhea, vomiting, or dehydration. A Ministry of Health call center is available for assistance.
Administering ORS as soon as acute watery diarrhea is detected. Individuals experiencing frequent watery loose stools, with or without vomiting and sudden weakness, should promptly notify the nearest health facility, both adults and children alike.
Funerals in areas with confirmed cases should adhere to public health measures, including avoiding large gatherings and adhering to specific guidelines for the burial of confirmed cholera cases.
The Minister emphasized the government’s commitment to work with local health authorities, healthcare providers, and community leaders to control the outbreak, thanking responders and leaders who have played a crucial role in managing the situation.
With President Hakainde Hichilema serving as the Global Cholera Control Champion, unity and collaboration are paramount to achieving the goal of a cholera-free Zambia.
The government’s resolve is unwavering in addressing this public health challenge, prioritizing the health and safety of every citizen. Regular updates will be provided as the situation evolves.