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Analytical summary - Epidemic and pandemic-prone diseases

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The majority of epidemics that occur in Zambia are due to environmental factors. According to the Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) 2007, the country has challenges with respect to its preparedness and control of emerging and known epidemics, such as Cholera, Typhoid, HINI (Influenza A virus subtype H1N1), Avian Influenza and Measles. To a large extent, these diseases are driven by lack of equitable access to improved water sources and safe sanitation. For instance, it is estimated that only 41% of the households have access to improved source of water and 25% of households in Zambia have no toilet facilities (ZDHS 2007).

For diseases such as cholera, the situation is compounded by waek multi-sectoral emergency preparedness and control coordination, communication strategy, and definition of the role of key stakeholders. As the control of human epidemics is enshrined in the Public Health Act, the perception is that only the MOH is responsible for health and should undertake such an activities. This undermines multi-sector response and participation of all stakeholders, particularly the communities and local authorities.