According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India sent humanitarian assistance to Zambia on Tuesday in response to a cholera outbreak, as stated by an official. The aid, weighing about 3.5 tonnes, comprises water purification supplies, chlorine tablets, and hydration in the form of ORS sachets. The officials said that the aid was sent in a commercial cargo aircraft.
In the meantime, the European Union (EU) has said it will provide Euro one million to Zambia in response to the cholera outbreak. According to the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the emergency funding will help the humanitarian partners UNICEF and the WHO in their endeavors to address instantaneous and critical needs related to health, water, hygiene, and sanitation.
The South African Country has been facing the Cholera outbreak since October 2023 and it is one of the most severe health concerns in its history. As of January 31, 2024, the number of cases of cholera in Zambia reported at 16,526 cases with 613 deaths and the fatality rate is nearly 4 percent.
The outbreak is reported in nine out of ten Zambia’s provinces. Most of the cases and deaths are recorded in Lusaka province, which is Zambia’s most densely populated province. At Lusaka, the authorities have set up a makeshift treatment center outside the National Heroes Stadium.
The Zambian government has also initiated a mass vaccination program and the authorities are providing clean water of 2.4 million liters a day to the districts that are affected across Zambia. A nationwide public awareness campaign has been launched.
President Hakainde Hichilema has exhorted the people who are living in densely populated towns and cities to shift to villages as their current living conditions are the possible breeding ground for the bacteria.
UNICEF said that recent cholera outbreaks have been seen in other South African nations including Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Since the start of 2023, more than 200,000 cholera cases and over 3,000 deaths have been reported in South Africa.
The rainy season is foreseen to continue until May, with further flooding due to heavy rains in Lusaka's urban and peri-urban areas, inducing the re-emergence of cholera cases.
Cholera is a bacterial disease. It is caused by eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated with the vibrio cholerae bacteria. It is an extremely serious disease that can cause severe acute watery diarrhea with severe dehydration.
(Input from various sources)