Zambia’s opposition party asks President to declare Cholera outbreak, national emergency


Cholera seems to have gone out of control in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia and other parts of Zambia inclusive. In this case, the ruling party’s opposition party has requested the President, Edgar Lungu, to declare a national emergency following the massive number of people affected by Cholera currently.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the outbreak began on September 28 and made more than 1,500 people sick. It appeared to die down by October 20, with fewer than five patients reported weekly until November 5. However, the number of cases surged, with 136 people being affected since November 26.

Following the situation in the country, on Saturday, President Lungu directed the country’s military to engage in the means of fighting the disease, after it has killed 46 people in Lusaka alone.

The President through Amos Chanda, his spokesman, released a statement on Friday, calling upon the military to engage in cleaning Lusaka, the capital, as a means of fighting the disease.

‘The president is deeply concerned at the rampaging advance of the epidemic and has therefore called on the defense forces to join other stakeholders and thoroughly clean up Lusaka. The outbreak was initially confined in densely populated parts of Lusaka where poor sanitation can aid its transmission, but the disease had now spread to low-density areas,’ Chanda said on Friday.

He added that due to the fear of more transmission, some restaurants and other public places would be closed until the risk is less or no more.

‘The outbreak was initially linked to contaminated water from shallow wells but investigations revealed that the spread was being propagated through contaminated food. In the last two weeks, three traders from Soweto market have died from Cholera and 18 more are currently under admission in various Cholera treatment centers,’ Chanda added, referring to Zambia’s largest street food market.

With the situation in the country, the opposition has seen it wise for the President to declare an emergency in the country, and tackle the disease right from the roots thoroughly well.

Dr. Christopher Kaliwa, the UPND opposition party Chairperson for Health in his statement on Saturday, also asked the Government to inform the people of the other affected places such that they can be more careful in them.

He also added asking the Government to implement the guidelines as given by the WHO, to help fight the disease.

‘We also urge the timely and adequate release of financial resources for this cause. The Public Health Act is outdated and should be amended to conform to current public health concerns,’ Dr Kalila said in a statement.

Dr. Kalila informed that the UPD opposition party is ready to help in any way possible, to help tackle the disease. He further in his statement said;

‘However, we are saddened by the perennial occurrence of cholera in Lusaka and other parts of the country even when we know the root causes such as lack of safe and clean drinking water and sanitation, poor drainages, unsanitary trading practices that include the sale of food stuffs in undesignated arrears and policies that promote unregulated street vending.’

‘Clearly, if the government had been proactive with the provision water and sanitation, adequate housing and disease prevention which includes continuous surveillance and early warning systems we would not be in this situation. The buck therefore stops at the government.’

‘Lastly we call upon the government to declare this cholera outbreak a national emergency especially that the military have been called in to assist. The government should tell the citizens which other parts of the country are affected. We call upon our colleagues in government to immediately implement the WHO guidelines for the control of cholera epidemics. We also urge the timely and adequate release financial resources for this cause. The Public Health Act is outdated and should be amended to conform to current public health concerns.’


















Correspondent: Shamilah Namuddu

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