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Cholera Crisis In Zambia, Schools Shut For Three More Weeks

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Beyond the holiday break, schools in Zambia will continue to be closed for an additional three weeks, with January 29 being the new date for resumption. This extension, announced by the Zambian Ministry of Education, affects both primary and secondary school students who were initially set to resume classes next Monday.

The postponement of the new academic year is due to an ongoing cholera outbreak in the country that started in October 2023. The decision follows a recent report from the Ministry of Health that there have been 3,015 confirmed cases and 98 deaths, leading to heightened concerns about national health security.

The country’s first case of cholera outbreak was recorded over 4 decades ago, in 1977, yet bouts of the ailments have continued to hit the citizens to date. The current outbreak started in Lusaka in October 2023 and was reported by The Zambia National Public Health Institute.

The government, with the support of local health authorities, healthcare providers, and community leaders, has since then made efforts to control the endemic. Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema, who also serves as the Global Cholera Control Champion, has emphasized the importance of uniting on different fronts to combat the outbreak and achieve a cholera-free Zambia.

In alignment with these goals, the Minister of Education has mandated a series of preventive strategies to eliminate the spread of cholera among school children. These measures include comprehensive cleaning of all educational facilities, ensuring access to clean water and proper sanitation, establishing sufficient hand washing stations, and providing disinfectants. He reckons that these steps will be essentially critical in safeguarding the health of students and staff upon return.

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