Lusaka — A raging cholera outbreak has left at least 77 people dead in Zambia.
This represents a marginal increase in the death toll from 74 fatalities confirmed last week.
The water borne disease, whose outbreak was reported in October, has affected more than 3 500 people in the Southern African country.
Government and humanitarian organisations however remain hopeful the further spread of the disease can be curtailed after the establishment of the Cholera Treatment Hospital in the capital Lusaka.
With a total population of over 2 million people, the capital is the epicentre of the deadly outbreak.
Janet Rogan, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, attributed the crisis to circumstances in the compounds as some people had no alternative sources of water apart from shallow wells some of which were located near to the latrines.
"We have seen the community and the challenges of water and sanitation and where cholera comes from," she said.
Rogan called for strong partnerships between communities, government, the UN and other partners.
Dr Landry Lukisa, the medical officer in charge at the Cholera Treatment Hospital, said since the recent opening of the hospital, there was a reduction in the number of fatalities and the quality of service was high due to availability of sufficient human resources and supply of medicines.
There are 55 doctors, 100 nurses, 97 in-service student doctors, 180 volunteers, 15 environmental health officers, 22 laboratory staff and 14 pharmacists at the hospital.