Lusaka, Sunday (January 7, 2024)
SOCIALIST Party President Dr Fred M’membe says the rise in cholera deaths signifies a collapsing healthcare system.
As of Saturday, January 6, 2024, Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) revealed that Cholera had claimed 195 lives out 5071 patients since it broke out in Zambia.
Speaking after he donated chlorine to residents of Lusaka’s Garden Compound, Dr. M’membe said President Hakainde Hichilema who was appointed in May 2022 at the World Health Assembly, in Geneva, Switzerland, as Global Cholera Control Champion, must resign because he is a Champion of failure.
He said the 2024 National Budgets has remained silent on financing the Multi-Sectoral Cholera Elimination Plan which was launched in 2019.
Dr. M’membe said the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Water Development and Sanitation analysis of the 2024 National Budget noted that as a share of the total budget, the allocation to WASH has dropped from 1.4% in 2023 to 1.3% in 2024, continuing a downward trend that began in 2021.
The SP President said the Government’s decreasing investment in WASH relative to the overall budget and other priorities is inconsistent with its stated goal of improving WASH services.
Dr. M’membe said it was heartbreaking to see people dying helplessly due to excessive congestion in health care facilities.
“What we are seeing now is indicative of a health care system, which is on the verge of collapse,” Dr M’membe said.
“Let Mr. Hichilema come out in the open and admit that he has failed to manage the cholera situation in the country, especially in Lusaka,” he said.
Dr. M’membe said the cholera outbreak has worsened owing to the UPND administration’s failure to heed calls from stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector to increase the budgetary allocation, which has been declining yearly.
The SP President said with proper planning and mobilization of resources, the cholera situation would have been contained within a few weeks.
“In 2018, several stakeholders came on board and mobilized resources to help the government manage the cholera situation. So why are we failing to do this now?” he said.
The Opposition Leader has since urged citizens to practice good hygiene such as washing hands with soap, eating warm food, keeping the surroundings clean, and drinking treated or boiled water, and avoid large gatherings where possible.
This is contained in a statement issued by SP Media Director Brian Hapunda.