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United States Supports Zambia’s Response to Cholera
4 MINUTE READ
January 17, 2024

LUSAKA – The United States continues to support efforts to stem the ongoing cholera outbreak in Zambia, providing technical expertise, training, medical and other supplies, detection and referral support, risk communication, and more.  The United States’ decades-long partnership with Zambia is built on our shared commitment to public health, as well as democracy, security cooperation, and inclusive economic growth.

Since the outbreak began in mid-October 2023, the United States has been assisting the Government of Zambia’s on-the-ground response, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Thus far, we have procured laboratory supplies, chlorine, anti-diarrhea kits, water purification solution, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to distribute to health facilities and households.  Additionally, the U.S. government has sent subject matter experts to augment the U.S. Embassy’s resident health experts who are providing technical assistance to the Zambian government to improve detection, referral, and clinical management of patients.

The United States has supported our Zambian partners as they establish the 1,000-bed Cholera Treatment Center in Lusaka, which treats patients with cholera.  We have also worked to improve water quality testing, helping ensure that water sources contain appropriate levels of chlorination; supported caseload and sanitation facilities management; and engaged communities on risk reduction – all of which are vital to stopping cholera’s spread.  We continue to assess Zambia’s current needs and are preparing to send additional epidemiology and laboratory experts to the country, as needed.

The U.S. government is the largest donor to Zambia’s health sector, providing services to more than 15 million Zambians and roughly one in every three dollars spent nationally on public healthcare.  We have a long history of partnering with the Zambian government to prevent and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.  For example, since 2021, we have improved access to safe water for over 200,000 Zambians and sanitation for 1.5 million Zambians.  We have also developed an electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response system, reaching all 3,000 health facilities in Zambia, to detect new cholera cases quickly and, established the Field Epidemiology Training Program, which trains health workers to better prevent, detect, and respond to health threats, with many of the 250 graduates leading the current cholera response.

The United States remains Zambia’s steadfast partner in making our world safer and healthier, and will continue to support Zambians in their response to the cholera outbreak.

John Simwanza, CDC Zambia Epidemiologist, supports the ZNPHI Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) team in testing household drinking water in Kanyama to ensure sufficient chlorine treatment. Using chlorine to treat household water is a key way to prevent cholera.

 

Private sector health workers from the Antu Omwe Health Center in Chibombo District who were trained by the USAID Zambia Accessible Markets for Health Project and the Ministry of Health in identification and management of Cholera cases.