Over 400 people have died from the worst cholera outbreak in the Zambia since the 1970s.
More than 10,000 people have been infected with authorities ordering the closure of schools across the country after the end-of-year holidays.
A large soccer stadium in the capital city has been converted into a treatment facility.
The Zambian government is embarking on a mass vaccination program and says it’s providing clean water 2.4 million liters a day — to communities that are affected across the southern African nation.
The National Disaster Management Agency has been mobilized. Half of the population affected.
The country’s Public Health Ministry says cholera has been detected in nearly half of the country’s districts.
Nine out of 10 provinces in the nation of about 20 million people have been recording more than 400 cases a day.
“This outbreak continues to pose a threat to the health security of the nation,” Health Minister Sylvia Masebo said, outlining it was a nationwide problem.
More than half — 229 — of the victims in the Zambian outbreak died before being admitted to a health facility, the public health institute said.
Zambia has had several major cholera outbreaks since the 1970s but this one is the worst for 20 years in terms of the caseload.
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, called the fatality rate of around 4% in the three-month outbreak “a devastatingly high number.” When treated, cholera typically has a death rate of less than 1%.
There have been recent cholera outbreaks in other southern African nations including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. More than 200,000 cases and over 3,000 deaths have been reported in southern Africa since the start of 2023, UNICEF said.