Zambia has proposed a resolution on cholera to be addressed at this year's World Health Assembly in May under the strategic priority on public health preparedness and response.
The resolution would lead to increased global attention to the problem of cholera in order to address the drivers of the disease and accelerate its elimination.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary in charge of Health Services Jabbin Mulwanda proposed the resolution to be considered on the agenda at the 71st World Health Assembly to be held in May this year in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr Mulwanda made this proposal at the ongoing World Health Organisation (WHO) executive board session in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr Mulwanda said having considered the report of the director general on the provisional agenda of the 71st World Health Assembly, Zambia has proposed a resolution on cholera at this year's World Health Assembly under strategic priority 11.3 on public health preparedness and response.
He said there was an urgent need for a renewed focus on cholera given it was a growing public health threat, and one which was likely to be exacerbated by climate change in years to come if not addressed now.
He said cholera still affected at least 47 countries across the globe, with an estimated 2.9 million cases and 95,000 deaths worldwide every year.
Dr Mulwanda said it was a disease of inequity, disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable populations.
This is according to a statement issued by ministry of Health head of communications and external relations Stanslous Ngosa.
"For instance, in Zambia, we are in the midst of a devastating outbreak, where almost 4,000 cases and 77 deaths have been reported. Unfortunately, our situation is not unique. Some of our neighbouring countries have faced similar challenges," Dr Mulwanda said.
Dr Mulwanda said the lack of progress on cholera prevention signalled a lack of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The recent launch of the Ending cholera: A global roadmap to 2030 by the Global Taskforce on cholera control sets out a new strategy to reduce mortality from cholera by 90 per cent by 2030 in line with the SDGs and eliminate the disease in up to 20 countries, through enhancing the response to outbreaks and strengthening prevention and preparedness through a multi-sectoral approach.
However, achieving these ambitious objectives required high level political commitment and strategic leadership by WHO and member states to strengthen long term prevention and control, through a multi-sectoral approach including improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene.
In light of this, Zambia proposes that a resolution on cholera is brought to the World Health Assembly in May and called on other countries to support this.
The statement received support from WHO member states and the request of the executive board to include a resolution on agenda items to be considered in May was granted.