As Zambia struggles to contain the cholera outbreak that has already claimed several lives, India has sent humanitarian aid to the southern African country. The aid, weighing approximately 3.5 tonnes, comprises water purification supplies, chlorine tablets, and hydration in the form of ORS sachets.
Zambia is facing one of the worst health crises in its history, with nearly 600 people killed and over 15,000 infected by cholera since October 2023, according to the BBC.
Nine out of Zambia's 10 provinces have reported cholera cases, although the vast majority are in Lusaka, a city of some 3 million people, where authorities have set up a makeshift treatment centre outside the National Heroes Stadium.
The government has also started a mass vaccination program and authorities are providing clean water — 2.4 million litres a day — to communities that are affected across Zambia. A country-wide public awareness campaign has also been launched. The country had to mobilise retired health workers and volunteers to address this worsening situation.
However, healthcare workers face challenge as heavy rains continue to hamper physical access and access to safe water in many parts of the country.
Notably, the fatality rate of around 4 percent in the three-month outbreak is way above the norm, as cholera typically has a death rate of less than 1 percent. The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, called it "a devastatingly high number".
According to Zambian health authorities, more than half of the victims in the latest outbreak died before being admitted to a health facility.