Caritas Zambia Calls for “decisive measures” to Combat Cholera, Resurgence of COVID-19

The Logo of Caritas Zambia. Credit: Caritas Zambia

Caritas Zambia is calling on Zambia’s government to put in place “decisive measures” to combat the outbreak of cholera and the “insidious” COVID-19 resurgence ahead of the postponed reopening of schools.

Learners in Zambia are expected to resume schools on January 29 following the extended end-of-year holiday amid cholera outbreak. The Southern African nation is fighting “a major” outbreak of cholera, according to AP.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa on Wednesday, January 24, Caritas Zambia officials say the reopening of schools need not worsen the situation, which has resulted in over 400 cholera-related deaths, and more than 10,000 cholera infections.

“As we stand on the brink of schools reopening on January 29, 2024, Caritas Zambia issues an immediate call to the Government through the Ministry of Education and Health to enact stringent and decisive measures to combat the dual threats of a devastating Cholera outbreak and the insidious resurgence of COVID-19 within our educational institutions,” they say.

On Tuesday, January 23, Zambia Health Minister, Sylvia Masebo, said the country has recorded new cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks. 


In the statement that the Executive Director of Caritas Zambia, Fr. Gabriel Mapulanga, signed, officials of the humanitarian and development arm of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) say that the planned reopening of schools “must not add fuel to the fire.” 

They emphasize the need for the Zambian government, through the Ministries of Education and Health, to “mobilize a thorough and robust plan to safeguard our children's return to their classrooms.”

“The government's mandate must extend beyond prevention; comprehensive strategies for immediate response to any cases within schools must be established,” Caritas Zambia officials say in the statement dated January 18.

They further caution, “The health and education of our children hang in the balance, and we must ensure that the ongoing Cholera crisis does not derail their right to a safe and quality education. Ensuring that children live in a clean and healthy environment is critical.”

Considering the extended school holiday period, Caritas Zambia officials propose the development of “'catchup' academic plans to mitigate the impact of lost instructional time.”

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The proposed academic plans aim at ensuring “continuity, quality, and standard of education remains uncompromised,” they say in the two-page statement dated January 18.

On January 22, the Executive Director of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), a Zambia-based entity of the Society of Jesus, proposed the stemming of urbanization as one of the ways to deal with the cholera outbreak whose epicenter is the capital city, Lusaka.

Zambia’s government needs to “revisit the Kenneth Kaunda era ‘Back to the Land’ campaign by establishing new industries (centers of excellence) in the rural areas where the natural resources and raw materials are located to stem rapid urbanization,” Fr. Alex Muyebe, said.

The Lusaka-based Jesuit Priest added that while Lusaka is the “nerve centre” of economic activities in the country, it has no capacity to provide for the ever-growing huge population.

The 2023 National Decentralization Policy “must go far enough to create economic opportunities in rural areas to encourage people, especially the youths to work and earn a decent living in rural areas,” the JCTR Executive Director said.


Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.