Zambia: Africa CDC Deploys 500 Community-Based Volunteers to Support Cholera Response in Zambia

press release

Lusaka — Africa CDC, in partnership with the Ministry of Health Zambia, announces the deployment of 500 community-based volunteers (CBVs) across Matero and Kanyama sub-districts in Lusaka, Zambia. This strategic support to the Republic of Zambia aims to bridge gaps in the cholera response efforts and healthcare services, particularly in the cholera hotspot areas, and foster a proactive community-focused approach to public health.

The CBVs who are deployed for three (3) months, are trusted members of their communities and will serve as a vital link between community members and healthcare providers, offering support in health education, hygiene and health promotion, community mobilisation, psychosocial support, including stigma prevention, as well as dis/misinformation management at the community level.

Speaking on behalf of the Africa CDC Director General Dr Jean Kaseya, Dr Lul Riek mentioned that the call for community health workers is in line with the Africa Union Heads of State and Government decision to expedite recruitment, training and deployment of 2 million Community Health Workers (CHWs) across the continent. "This is also consistent with the Africa CDC New Public Health Order that calls for a strong health workforce development and robust network of community healthcare workers," he said.

This deployment marks a pivotal step in Africa CDC's commitment to promoting health equity and empowering communities to take charge of their health. Through personalised interactions at the community level, CBVs will connect individuals with healthcare services, breaking down barriers to access and information and ensuring that community members receive timely care and treatment. CBVs will be disseminating information on cholera preventive measures and good hygiene practices, thereby empowering community members to participate actively in the fight against cholera.

Officiating the CBVs deployment, Honourable Sylvia Masebo, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Zambia, noted that engaging the communities on Cholera is highly critical and significant because all outbreaks start within the communities and end with active participation and engagement of community members.

The engagement of volunteers, recruited from within their communities, highlights the transformative potential of community-led solutions and reflects Africa CDC's dedication to strengthening health systems across the continent.

In addition, Africa CDC support to the cholera response efforts in Zambia includes the deployment of 15 technical assistance officers; production of information, education and communication materials; strengthening laboratory capacity for genomic sequencing; training of 50 healthcare workers on sample collection and referral; recruitment and deployment of 150 clinical management staff including 20 Medical Officers, 100 Nurses, 4 Laboratory Scientists, 16 Clinical Officers, and 10 Environmental Officers for the next three months. Africa CDC will similarly support with the procurement of medical supplies, including Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and disinfectants as well as strengthening cross-border surveillance to circumvent further spread control of the outbreak.

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