Southern African countries agreed to develop and implement multi-sectorial cholera response plans.

The heads of State and government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) approved a plan of measures to combat the cholera outbreak, during an extraordinary summit of the bloc.

Luanda.- According to the statement of the meeting, member countries agreed to jointly plan and implement synchronized cross-border vaccination campaigns, if necessary, and to mobilize vaccines for affected and at-risk countries, with an annual report to the Council.

This includes a decision to speed up local and regional production of vaccines against the disease and other items such as oral rehydration solutions and treatment beds, to improve control of supply chain security and accelerate technology and knowledge transfer.

They also agreed to develop and implement multi-sectorial disease response plans, including natural disasters and climatic effects.

They also agreed to strengthen regional collaboration in the areas of cross-border outbreak risk assessment and public health surveillance to improve early detection and prevention of outbreak-prone diseases.

Another aspect addressed was to increase investment in the current emergency response, without neglecting long-term investment to ensure a sustainable solution, as well as the design and implementation of climate-resilient water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and disaster risk reduction programs.

Increasing investment in WASH infrastructure and ensuring effective waste management, increasing budget allocation for related programs, and strengthening accountability tools for WASH interventions were also part of the measures.

The Summit thanked international cooperation partners such as the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Program.

He also appointed Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Regional Champion for the Fight against Cholera, to lead efforts to fight the disease in the SADC region. (PL)