Skip to content

Zambia’s worst-ever cholera outbreak escalates into major health crisis

The Zambia National Public Health Institute reported an outbreak of cholera in Lusaka in October 2023.

The death rate in Zambia, one of the world’s poorest countries, has reached 4 percent. Since October 2023, there have been over 13,000 cumulative cholera cases. In total, 600 people have died so far in the latest outbreak.  This is four times the World Health Organisation threshold. The last major outbreak, from October 2017 to June 2018, killed 114.

Every school-aged child in the country – will remain at home following an announcement to keep schools closed in a bid to stem the worst cholera outbreak in 20 years. Initially, the government ordered schools to remain closed after the Christmas break until 29th January. Due to the extent of the outbreak, the Ministry of Education pushed that date back to 12 February – at the earliest.

Cholera, a highly contagious disease, spreads quickly through contaminated water. It can also spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewerage, flooded areas, and areas without safe drinking water.

Cholera floods

Cholera floods

To help stem the outbreak, a global stockpile of vaccines been created by the WHO and deploys around 40 million doses per year, yet more than 100 million are needed,

Organisations like WaterAid are providing immediate relief in the form of aid kits, which include washing soaps, diapers and sanitary towels.

The outbreak has spread to the Monze district where HHI, in collaboration with HHZ, operate.  There have been over a dozen cases in Monze so far. HHZ have been using some of the financial aid from HHI in the UK to provide vulnerable adults and children with clean drinking water and sanitizing materials.

Please remember those affected by the outbreak, especially those in the Monze area where we operate. 

Back To Top