Zambia News

One cholera death puts Zambia on high alert, and Vubwi district

One of the four confirmed instances of cholera in the Vubwi district has resulted in death, and seven further cases are being looked into by medical professionals, according to Health Minister Sylvia Masebo.

Health professionals are reacting quickly to the problem, according to Ms. Masebo, in an effort to contain and stop the spread of the disease to other regions of the nation.

During an emergency news conference conducted in Lusaka, Ms. Masebo stated that strict procedures had been implemented, one of which is the distribution of 26,000 cholera vaccines.

“The Ministry of Health has received an alert indicating a cholera outbreak in Vubwi District of Eastern Province since January 22nd, 2023. Vubwi District has confirmed four cases, and are investigating another seven suspected cases. Sadly, we have recorded one death from there. The areas affected are villages within Chikoma, Mbande, Chipanje, and Mzigawa Rural Health Center catchment areas,” she said.

She said the District Rapid Response teams supported by Provincial Health Offices are urgently responding to try and control, and break transmission of cholera in the affected areas.

“In accordance with our National Multi-sectoral Plan, response activities include: activation of the District Public Health Emergency Operations Centers and Incident Management System, activation of the District Epidemic Preparedness Prevention Control and Management Committee meetings, Intensified surveillance activities including active case search and contact tracing, enhanced Risk Communication and Community sensitization activities, advocacy and stakeholder engagement and provincial team deployment to support district responses,” she said

She said that medical staff had tracked down every case’s contact information and determined that the communities currently afflicted could comprise as many as 719 residents in six villages in the Vubwi District.

“Eastern and Muchinga provinces are particularly the highest risk provinces for contracting of the disease. The Districts that are mostly at risk of this importation include Chipata, Vubwi, Chipangali, Lumezi, Chasefu, Lundazi and Chama in Eastern province and Nakonde, Isoka and Mafinga in Muchinga province.Furthermore, some areas within Lusaka, Luapula, Northern, Copperbelt, Central and Southern provinces are known to be cholera hotspots,” she said.

According to Ms. Masebo, the ZNPHI has mobilized 26,000 doses of the cholera vaccine and put in place the following steps to stop transmission between districts and from other afflicted nations.

She also urged people to cook food thoroughly, boil or chlorinate their water, and maintain clean environs.

“A national Cholera Task Force has been placed in response action mode, national Public Health Emergency Operations Center based at ZNPHI has been activated, partners have been engaged and a number of them supporting the response, A 72-hour cholera contingency plan has been developed and will be in use from yesterday and
Cholera management protocols and emergency supplies have been provided to the two affected districts,” she said.

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