Churches, schools shut in Zambia as cholera outbreak enters fourth month

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Zambia is struggling to contain a cholera outbreak that began in October last year, has infected 3000 people, and caused about 70 deaths.

Last week the government ordered close down of churches, bars, markets and schools in Lusaka.

Some environmentalists have criticised the government saying that the mismanagement of water systems in the capital is a reason for the outbreak.

“We have mismanaged ground water. The original people who built Lusaka said don’t mix water with rubbish. We didn’t follow and otherwise, we are now in trouble. This is a historic problem,” Environmentalist Robert Chimambo told ENCA.

“An interesting case is a Minister who recently said we should relocate Lusaka. And I agree with him. We should do that to decongest the city,” he said.

The country has also launched an oral vaccine campaign to contain the outbreak, following the arrival of about 2 million doses of the oral cholera vaccine from the Gavi-funded global stockpile.

“Communities should not ignore basic preventative measures because the key drivers of this epidemic include consumption of contaminated water and food, poor waste management, and poor personal hygiene practices which have to change,” said Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya while launching the campaign.

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