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UNICEF donates medical kit to Zambia to help contain cholera outbreak

LUSAKA, April 6 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday gavecmedical kit to help the southern African nation contain a cholera outbreak.

Cholera broke out in February in one slum of Lusaka, the country's capital, but the waterborne disease has spread to other towns in three provinces.

According to Ministry of Health figures, cholera cases have reached over 500, with four deaths. The Zambian capital is the most affected, with 480 of the reported cases.

The UN agency has handed over a diarrhea kit and other supplies to the Ministry of Health worth 12,000 U.S. dollars

"The diarrhea kit, which contains medicines, medical consumables and equipment, oral rehydration salts and intravenous fluids, is aimed at supporting efforts to control the outbreak that have been reported in the southern African nation," the UN agency said in a statement.

Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim, UNICEF's representative in Zambia, said during the handover that Zambia requires long-term solutions to respond to outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

"While this support from UNICEF will go a long way in complementing the efforts of the Ministry of Health to control the current cholera outbreak, it is my fervent hope and prayer that the government and partners will look into long-term solutions to address outbreaks of waterborne diseases," he said.

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Peter Mwaba expressed gratitude over the donation, saying it will go a long way in helping government's response to the cholera outbreak.

According to the UNICEF statement, the medical kit will enable the Ministry of Health treat up to 500 people.

Cholera is considered endemic in Zambia and breaks out during the rainy season due to poor water, hygiene and sanitation in highly populated slums, as evidenced from repeated episodes of the disease over the years.

The country experienced the worst cholera outbreak in 2010, with over 4,500 cases recorded and more than 120 deaths. Enditem

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