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Govt Intensifies Efforts Against Cholera Outbreak 

The Zambian Minister of Health, Hon. Sylvia T. Masebo, provided a comprehensive update on the government’s relentless efforts to combat the ongoing cholera outbreak that has gripped the nation since October 2023.

Minister Masebo began by acknowledging the surge in cholera cases, attributing the increase to climate change and various social and environmental factors. 

She emphasized the government’s unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of the citizens and the urgent need to address this public health crisis.

Highlighting regional collaboration, Minister Masebo revealed that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) council of Ministers of Health has been actively addressing cholera epidemics and climate-related health emergencies. 

High-level meetings, attended by ministers responsible for health and water and sanitation, have resulted in joint collaborative measures to combat the spread of cholera and enhance preparedness for climate-change-related health emergencies.

Key measures endorsed include strengthening the Africa Elimination Cholera Epidemics Coordination Task Force, scaling up cholera prevention and control through community engagement, enhancing surveillance and local production of cholera vaccines, and improving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services across countries.

Minister Masebo underscored the importance of addressing underlying drivers such as climate change, conflicts, and other factors contributing to outbreaks. 

She stressed the need for designing settlement areas that can withstand diverse climatic conditions impacting water and sanitation.

Providing an overview of the current cholera situation, Minister Masebo reported 377 new cases in the last 24 hours, with Lusaka being the epicenter. 

She acknowledged the efforts of healthcare workers and volunteers and expressed gratitude for the support received from local and international partners.

While acknowledging challenges, Minister Masebo celebrated the progress made, including a reduction in admissions and deaths. 

Vaccination remains a critical component of the strategy, with 1,888,112 individuals vaccinated in hotspot areas, achieving a 98% coverage rate among the targeted population.

Minister Masebo mourned the loss of 10 lives within the past 24 hours, extending condolences to affected families. 

She highlighted the multifaceted support received, including financial aid, voluntary services, and collaboration with various partners and cooperating bodies.

The Minister commended the leadership of President Hakainde Hichilema and emphasized the importance of community involvement in clean-up campaigns. 

She called for sustained efforts to combat cholera, urging retired health workers to join in running mobile clinics and oral rehydration points.

In conclusion, Minister Masebo emphasized the need for unity in the fight against cholera, urging residents to remain vigilant, practice good hygiene, and seek medical attention if experiencing symptoms. She assured ongoing government support and expressed gratitude for the community’s resilience.

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