Emergency Cholera Support 2024

June 14th, 2024

In February, a sudden outbreak of cholera left families at high risk. Your support meant we could get emergency supplies to those most in need.

In February, we updated our supporters about the sudden outbreak of cholera across both Zambia and Mozambique.  

Cholera is, sadly, very common in both countries. Without safe water and toilets, the virus will spread quickly, and yearly rainy seasons cause dangerous spikes in cases. 

Through our projects we’re helping communities become more resilient to viral outbreaks and common illness through permanent, safe water and sanitation facilities that can be maintained and managed long-term. Increasing knowledge at the community level is essential too – knowing when and how to treat water, disinfect pumps and safe handwashing practice helps save lives. 

With our local partners, WATSAN in Mozambique and ECHO in Zambia, we work closely with council, government and other water and sanitation leaders. We know in the long-term, heightened surveillance, planning and preventative measures are needed to control outbreaks. 

If we’re able to support people and partners on the ground during a crisis, we will always do so. Thanks to help from our supporters, we were able to get emergency supplies and life-saving information to over 11,000 people over the last few months. 


  • 4 public community sensitization meetings were held where field staff spoke about hygiene education and cholera prevention, which 3441 people in total attended 
  • 403 households were visited in Muoyo, Mukukutu and Lubosi wards in Nalolo District, Central Province, where local partners ECHO spread messages about the adoption of 5 key hygiene behaviours in households to prevent cholera. The team ran 3 sessions with each ward to help communities take on the learnings
  • 700 bottles of chlorine and handwashing soap were distributed across the same 3 wards  
  • Installation of a semi-permanent emergency hand washing station at the entrance of a popular market 


  • The team found resistance to behavioral change among certain community members, requiring additional promotion of the messages
  • Most community members demonstrated a clear understanding of cholera transmission routes, symptoms and preventive measures  
  • There has been an increased community awareness and adoption of hygiene practices such as handwashing, safe water storage and proper sanitation  
  • One key behaviors that made an impact was how to treat unsafe water. The communities in the areas rely on unprotected wells for drinking water. The teams gave a demonstration on the chlorination of water as a water of treating water


  • The ECHO team based in Mumbwa, Western Province set up public announcements in Bulungu, Lubemba and Nangoma areas with 15,550, 12,933 and 18,975 catchment populations respectively. The message was centred around the key hygiene messages and to raise  awareness about cholera.
  • 2 semi-permanent hand washing facilities were constructed at rural health centres which were providing cholera treatment during breakout
  • Granular chlorine given to treat and disinfect community boreholes 
  • 708 households across Lubemba and Muchabi were given soap and bottle of chlorine. They were shown how to safely use the chlorine in public hygiene training sessions 
  • In Lubemba and Muchabi areas 13 ‘hotspot communities’ were targeted with hygiene behaviour education and cholera information 
  • With the help of the Government over 100 water points were chlorinated  


  • In Muchabi, there are 4 fishing camps in the area. Fish trading is a popular and an essential livelihood activity: travelling between camps and larger markets to sell fish causes cases to rise. This can be tackled with hygiene education and handwashing stations outside markets 
  • In Lubemba, ECHO reported a high number of unprotected wells, without safe water it is impossible to protect from disease. We aim to improve water and sanitation facilities across Mumbwa, reducing the risk of future outbreaks 
  • Some areas were difficult to reach due to poor roads being damaged further by the rainy season 
  • ECHO staff told us, “myths and misconceptions were debunked and it was explained to the communities that cholera is a waterborne disease, can be cured at a healthcare facility and be prevented by practicing good hygiene” 
  • ECHO and Mumbwa Health Office held onsite orientations on effective management and strategy for outbreaks 
  • ECHO reported a heighten surveillance using community-based volunteers and neighbourhood health committees at early detection of disease 

Our organisations response to the cholera outbreak and WASH initiatives made a significant impact  on the communities health, sanitation and resilience. We remain committed to sustaining these efforts and building upon the lessons learned to promote sustainable WASH practices in the future. (WATSAN)


  • Our local partner WATSAN supported 4 districts, Chimoio, Vanduzi, Guro and Tambara, in Manica Province 
  • Cholera education sessions were delivered with communities learning and engaging in; how to detect symptoms; seeking early treatment and prevention measures to contain and prevention of the spread of the disease 
  • Soap and water purifications tablets were delivered to 8,398 families 
  • Door to door visits were done and 82 vulnerable families received short training sessions at their homes, also receiving soap and water purification tablets 
  • Each districts local council received 5kgs of chlorine to be used for further treatment of community boreholes 


  • Poor road conditions, particularly in Tambara district, caused multiple vehicle breakdowns. The mechanic was able to solve the problem in the field
  • Despite WATSAN’s best efforts to anticipate demand, turnout at public sessions was unexpectedly high which necessitate revisiting communities to replenish supplies of soap, water purification tablets and encourage continuity of hygiene promotion efforts
  • Community members demonstrated improved awareness and understanding of cholera transmission symptoms and preventive measures  
  • There was a noticeable shift in hygiene behaviours among community members with an increased emphasis on hand washing, safe water storage, and proper sanitation practices  
  • Communities emerged more resilient and prepared to respond to cholera outbreaks and other public health emergencies 
  • The campaign facilitated constructive partnerships and collaboration with government agencies, health professionals, and local stakeholders  

Communities appreciated the awareness messages. They learnt to recognise the symptoms of cholera and how it is transmitted, encouraging early treatment-seeking behaviour and increasing awareness of prevention practices and strategies (WATSAN)

All of these activities are short-term emergency measures aimed at curbing the current outbreaks. However all of our work – increasing access to clean water, decent toilets, and improving levels of hygiene – aims to make communities healthier and more resilient to diseases like cholera long-term.

Thank you to everyone who donated to this emergency appeal. Your support is invaluable to the communities who can now protect themselves against cholera.