Zambia

Situation Report

Highlights

  • A total of 1,632 COVID-19 cases were confirmed as of 1 July, with 35 out of the country’s 119 districts reporting COVID-19 cases.
  • COVID-19 deaths have tripled in the past weeks from 10 deaths reported on 8 June to 30 on 1 July.
  • Poor compliance to recommended prevention measures, including use of masks, hand hygiene and physical distancing, as well as limited laboratory testing, remain key challenges.
  • On 27 June, the President of Zambia announced the re-opening of all international airports in Zambia.
covid poster
A health worker attaching the MOH posters at Mtendere Market at Lusaka City Council. Photo: WaterAid

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Zambia

Situation Report

Key Figures

10.1M
people in need
6.2M
people targeted
27
partners operational

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Zambia

Situation Report

Funding

$132.9M
requested (May-Oct 2020)
$12M
received
9%
funded

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Contacts

Laura Hastings

Humanitarian Affairs Officer, Zambia

Guiomar Pau Sole

Communications & Information Management, Regional Office for Southern & Eastern Africa

Zambia

Situation Report
Background
Map
COVID-19 cases by district

Situation Overview

Zambia recorded the first case of COVID-19 on 18 March 2020 and, as 1 July, 1,632 cases had been confirmed and 30 deaths reported. Out of the country's 119 districts, 35 districts have reported COVID-19 cases. Immediately after the first confirmed case, the Government of Zambia introduced measures to mitigate against the spread of the virus including closure of regional airports, restrictions of public gatherings of more than 50 people, closures of religious institutions, bars and restaurants.

On 14 April, the Government introduced a three-day lockdown in Kafue to facilitate contact tracing and undertake community testing to stop the spread of the virus. On 10 May, Nakonde district bordering Tanzania became a hotspot with 642 confirmed cases. The case transmission was attributed to the border post where immigration officials, truck drivers, sex workers and health workers were the first confirmed cases. A 10-day lockdown was introduced to prevent the spread from 12 to 22 May. The UN deployed a multisectoral response team to support the Ministry of Health (MOH)/ Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) response to the outbreak. The multisectoral response team focused on supporting health worker case management, IPC training of immigration official, provision of WASH in key designated points, risk communication and community engagement and ascertaining the protection issues and referral systems in place. On 29 June, the MOH requested a clinical team r to support the district health official in Ndola where an increase in caseload was reported.

On 26 May, the Government withdrew some of the initial restriction measures and recommended the opening of schools for student examination years and of restaurants and gyms subject to adherence to public health measures and social distancing. The wearing of masks in public places became mandatory and all retail business are required to have handwashing/sanitizers amenities at entrance of their businesses. Further, on 25 June, the President announced that all international airports have re-opened and a booster package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was declared as a means of regenerating the economy and acceptance of having to co-exist with COVID-19 as a new normal way of working and living.

Partners are concerned that with the lifting of restrictions there is a noted relaxation of people’s adherence to wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

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Zambia

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Education

12,828
soap distributed in Sioma District schools
555K
pupils targeted

Needs

  • The nationwide re-opening of examination classes has increased demand for provision of guidelines, hygiene and sanitation supplies and face masks for school children and teachers.

  • There is need to conduct a nationwide assessment of school readiness for re-opening of schools for  non-exam classes and identify challenges to inform interventions at school level.

  • The continued closure of non-examination classes continues to disrupt learning for over 3 million children and adolescents, and the provision of critical services, including school feeding programs for disadvantaged children.

  • Continuity of learning is a challenge to many vulnerable children who cannot access TV, radio and on-line learning and other platforms that have been established by the Ministry of General Education (MoEG).

  • Teachers still face unprecedented challenges of ensuring the continuity of learning for their pupils while caring for their own and their families’ safety.

  • Prolonged school closure for non-examination classes still puts children especially girls, at increased risk of teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse, child marriage and other harmful practices.

  • Many schools in rural areas are under-resourced and ill-equipped to provide support to the students learning from home. Some parents are unable to support their children’s learning, widening the equity gap between the well-off and worse-off in learning, potentially leading to life-long negative impact.

  • Priority to be given to children with special educational needs so that they can benefit from the different established learning platforms.

Response

  • Partners in collaboration with the Ministry of General Education (MoGE) are conducting a nation-wide school readiness assessment which will guide decision making for re-opening of non-examination classes.

  • In collaboration with sector partners, the MoGE has started airing TV and radio learning contents for Grade 1 to 12 on different TV and radio stations. 

  • Partners distributed a total of 12,828 bars of soap, 33 handwashing buckets, 1027 toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes as part of the hygiene kits for 11 schools in Sioma District.

  • Sector partners supported the production and airing of child friendly radio messages in local languages on COVID-19 on the national radio station, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and is finalizing the airing of these messages to four community radio stations in Western, Southern, Copper Belt and Eastern provinces.

  • Education sector partners have continued to support the printing of easy to read self-study literacy materials for children in non-examination classes to improve their reading skills.

Gaps

  • Inadequate resources such as learning materials and technical expertise for viable distance and alternative education during COVID-19.

  • Lack of adaptive distance learning materials for primary level in local languages.

  • Inadequate communication infrastructure and electricity coverage in rural locations to support distance learning.

  • Difficulty in remotely monitoring children’s learning progress by teachers, schools and caregivers.

  • Lack of disaggregated data on children and schools per area, age and type of interventions.

  • Lack of information on children accessing education through different modalities (TV, radio, e-learning, self-study materials).

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Zambia

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Health

400K
received COVID-19 sensitization in Lusaka
5M
people targeted

Needs

  • The country continues to experience community transmission with the cumulative number of confirmed cases on 1 July standing at 1,632 confirmed cases, including 30 deaths.

  • Approximately 9 per cent of COVID-19 cases are children below 14 years including young infants, who need special arrangements at isolation centres and hospitals for case management services maintaining strict compliance of isolation from their parents. The sector needs to develop guidelines and SOPs to manage children with COVID-19 with special arrangements (e.g. children’s COVID-19 ward) at hospitals including coordinating with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) on psychosocial support to the parents and children while they are separated from each other.

  • Transboundary spread of the virus is still playing an important role as in-coming travellers account for half of confirmed cases. Districts with Points of Entry (POE) continue reporting the greatest number of cases cumulatively. There is need for increased support and monitoring on POEs.

  • The national laboratory testing capacity is low and declining due to inadequate lab supplies. This is affecting capacity to identify cases and accurately track the outbreak.

  • Diversion of resources (time, human, finances) is affecting routine service delivery for essential services such as immunization and reproductive health.

Response

  • Partners trained 150 health workers on case management in Copperbelt, Central and Northern Provinces.

  • The sector supported the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and guidelines for the various COVID-19 response strategies including surveillance and contact tracing, alert management, processes at PoEs, laboratory sample collection and management processes, IPC guidelines, criteria for de-escalation of IPC measures on discharge, community case management and algorithm for clinical case management. This is the first time that the health sector developed SOPs and guidelines to provide a standardize response which will facilitate a more coordinated and efficient response countrywide.

  • Health sector partners supported the procurement of COVID-19 response supplies and equipment including 10 ventilators. Five of the ventilators arrived in Zambia during the first week of June, while the remaining five are ready for shipment.

  • Sector partners supported the MoH in developing technical guidelines and SOPson the continuation of essential public health services that is being printed and ready for distribution.

  • Sector partners seconded international and local logistics experts to ZNPHI to provide technical support to the Intelligent Mobility Solutions (IMS) Logistics Sub-committee in reviewing and updating the forecasting of COVID-19 supplies applying new WHO tools. The COVID-19 supply forecast has now been reviewed and the partners mapping on supply and logistics support to identify the gaps is ongoing. The team has also supported the adaptation of the supply management tool for COVID-19 that will be used at all levels to better manage supplies.

  • The IPC risk communication and emergency response teams have supported targeted mass screening in COMESA market and Yalelo with swabbing of more than 500 people for COVID-19 cases.

  • The IPC team supported the development of materials for IPC mentorship in schools which were piloted at St. Ignatious school. A total 53 pupils were sensitized. The material will be used to sensitize students in academic institutions.

  • SOPs on community engagement and youth community engagement have been developed and submitted to MoH and MCDSS for review.

  • The sector supported the Lusaka Provincial Health Office (PHO) in conducting a 20- day campaign with engagement of 200 volunteers who conducted door to door sensitization and reached 400,000 people.

  • A total of 300 megaphones have been procured and distributed to support awareness creation in the hotspot districts including border towns, such as, Nakonde, Chililabombwe, and Chirundu.

  • The risk communication team (RCCE) working within the UN communication mechanism and other partners supported development of social media campaign and community engagement messages. The team also commenced discussions to effectively address stigma for COVID-19 positive cases, mainly focusing on strengthening messaging via community key influence.

  • The RCCE team continues providing support to the call centres at DMMU and ZNPHI. An average 800-1,500 calls are being received daily.

  • An independent institute has been engaged to conduct Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) and assess the behavioural responses and impacts of COVID-19 through a multi-wave telephonic interviews of 1,000 respondents.

Gaps

  • Challenges in mounting adequate surveillance, contact tracing and outbreak investigation to break the chain of transmission.

  • Public health measures at PoEs are not adequate to address the risk of importation of cases into the country. PoEs have been overwhelmed with entry of an average 5,500 travellers daily.

  • Poor compliance of the public to recommended prevention measures including use of masks, hand hygiene and physical distance.

  • Diversion of resources (time, human, finances) from routine health services affecting routine service delivery for essential services like immunization and reproductive health.

  • Technical coordination challenges between MoH and partners on strengthening health systems resilience and continuation of essential health services, amid COVID-19.

  • Delays in securing the international cargo flights for air-shipment of critical offshore supplies despite some improvements in cargo airlines operations due to increasing demands of supplies, specifically, in Asia and Africa.

  • There is no systematic monitoring of the consequences and impact of COVID-19 on the continuation of essential health services. Currently, HMIS provides monthly report on essential health services, which become available after a month. In view of effectively plan and implement the COVID-19 response pillar on “continuation of essential services”, sector needs to adopt strategy of increased reporting frequency as well as use of digital platform to promote Real Time Monitoring (RTM).

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Zambia

Situation Report

Sector Status

Food Security

1M
people targeted

Needs

  • While the full extent of the impact of COVID-19 on food security is not yet determined as the pandemic situation is evolving and impact assessments results are yet to be finalized, the pandemic’s containment measures are likely to have far reaching impacts on the country’s socio-economic conditions and the livelihoods of many vulnerable and low-income people in urban and peri-urban settings, limiting their ability to meet their food and nutrition needs.

Response

  • From 8 to 18 June, partners conducted a rapid food security and vulnerability impact assessment targeting 1,500 households in Lusaka and Kafue districts to determine the impact of COVID-19 on the food and nutrition security of vulnerable urban households. Preliminary results should be available in the following week and help better identify needs in the most affected districts. World Vision Zambia is also planning to conduct an assessment around September to establish the impact of COVID-19 on the livelihoods and coping mechanisms.

  • Sector partners are designing a programme to provide food security cash transfers (CBT) to approximately 656,000 vulnerable and food insecure people residing in high-density, low-income urban and peri-urban compounds of Lusaka, Kafue, Livingstone and Kitwe most affected by COVID-19. CBT will be implemented for six months from July to December 2020, with each food insecure household receiving ZMK 400 (about US$21.9) per month.

  • The Food Security and Social Protection sectors are coordinating with the MCDSS to ensure complementarity of responses, define targeting approaches and protocols, manage overlaps in beneficiaries, and to harmonize transfer values.

Gaps

  • Due to funding limitations, partners will initially target 182,000 people in Lusaka out of the planned 656,000 low-income and food insecure people in the four target districts, while continuing with resource mobilization efforts to scale up the intervention to the target people.

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Zambia

Situation Report

Sector Status

Nutrition

17
districts received PPE at nutrition sites
1.7M
people targeted

Needs

  • The five SMART surveys done in drought-affected districts indicate global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate at acceptable level (<5 per cent), but this could change due to economic stress on population as a result of COVID-19.

  • Over 13,500 children aged 6-59 months in 17 districts need nutritional supplements to prevent stunting.

  • There is a need to maintain nutritional services and protect service providers during COVID-19 outbreak and minimize the disruption to services.

Response

  • Sector partners procured nutrition supplies and equipment, and all the 58 priority districts are receiving Ready to Use Food, F-100/75.

  • Partners in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) provided technical guidance and mentorship at health facilities in four districts (Gwembe, Lunga, Sioma and Shangombo districts) out of the 58 prioritized districts.

  • Training materials and monitoring tools have been printed and provided for trainings, programme monitoring and reporting to improve on programme quality.

  • Procured PPE supplies for 17 districts to be used to prevent and mitigate COVID-19 at nutrition services delivered through facilities and outreach sites.

  • Partners streamlined technical support for the development of IYCF counselling card in the context of COVID-19 and assisted in the printing and distribution of this card across the country.

  • Supported facilitation of lower level supplies distribution (up to district level) in hard to reach areas such as Lunga District with bad terrain that incur high cost of transport.

Gaps

  • Procurement of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) MAM kits are currently disrupted due to global pandemic. Sector partners were unable to purchase the kits offshore due to high demand and air freight embargoes.

  • Field observation and assessment conducted at the beginning of the year in high priority district health facilities suggested that there is inadequate technical expertise of health workers on management of SAM and MAM cases.

  • Risk of cross infection of service providers and beneficiaries if prevention and WHO COVID-19 standard procedures are not observed and regularly monitored.

  • Lack of appropriate communication and messaging at the health facility and community level to ensure adherence to SOPs and guidelines on best practices and prevention of infection.

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Zambia

Situation Report

Sector Status

Protection (GBV and Child Protection)

107k
people reached by community radio services
296k
people targeted

Needs

  • In hotspot districts, 6,500 vulnerable adolescent girls and young women require dignity kits.

  • There are no designated shelter for GBV survivors in any of the priority districts.

  • Training of frontline workers such as nurses, doctors and call centre counsellors on personal wellbeing and mental health so that they can cope with the pressure related to COVID-19.

  • PPE for non- medical GBV service providers such as police, judiciary, prosecutions authority, and other social services.

Response

  • About 107,200 people reached with information on GBV services and COVID-19 prevention through community radios across the country.

  • A total of 1,308 people (494 female, 814 male) received information, psychosocial support and tele-counselling on COVID-19, GBV and service delivery points, through the Lifeline/Childline toll free call centre.

  • In Gwembe, one of the hotspot districts, about 5,000 face masks were provided to support the Stabilisation Centre for SAM and MAM cases.

  • Partners participated in the development of MoH Public Health Guidelines for Continuation of Essential Services during COVID-19 Pandemic: GBV and SRH services are among the essential services listed.  

Gaps

  • Limited imperially researched and verified sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) data in the context of COVID-19 to inform the response.

  • Limited training on personal well-being and mental health for frontline workers including call centre counsellors.

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Zambia

Situation Report

Sector Status

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

67,500
people received WASH supplies
1.6M
people targeted

Needs

  • According to the 2018 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS), more than 36 per cent of Zambia’s population lacked access to basic drinking water services while more than 67 per cent lacked access to basic sanitation services in 2018. An estimated 10 per cent of the population practiced open defecation while 76 per cent of households did not have access to a handwashing facility with soap and water in 2018.

  • The critical requirements in the WASH sector include strengthening of WASH and infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in the health-care facilities and schools; improvement and continuity of water supply to vulnerable communities, especially in the rural and high-density urban areas; provision of critical supplies including soap and handwashing stations to vulnerable populations and hygiene promotion together with infection prevention and control messaging.

Response

  • Rehabilitation of WASH infrastructure and/or provision of supplies in Chinsali, Kitwe, Luangwa, Lusaka, Masaiti, Mumbwa, Nakonde, Ndola, Nyimba and Shibuyunji districts targeting 166 health-care facilities and isolation centres.

  • About 670 health-care staff trained on IPC in Chipata, Kabwe, Kasama, Katete, Kazungula, Mazabuka, Mbala, Mpulungu, Mumbwa, Nakonde, Nyimba, Shibuyunji and Siavonga districts.

  • A total of 96 schools benefited from hygiene supplies, including soap and/or handwashing stations, in Chongwe, Luangwa, Mazabuka, Monze, Namwala and Rufunsa districts. 

  • An estimated 67,500 people were provided with soap and/or other critical WASH supplies in Nyimba, Shibuyunji, Mumbwa, Mazabuka, Monze and Namwala districts.

  • An estimated 753,600 people were reached with messages on safe hygiene practices in Lusaka, Mazabuka, Monze, Mwandi, Mwense, Namwala and Samfya districts.

Gaps

  • Planned activities to support commercial utilities in improvement and continuity of WASH services have not yet started due to funding gaps.

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Zambia

Situation Report
Coordination

General Coordination

In May, the Government of Zambia COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency & Response Plan and the UN and partners COVID-19 Emergency Appeal were officially launched by the Vice President Inonge Wina. The UN and partners’ Appeal requires $132.9 million to support the COVID-19 multisectoral response targeting 6.2 million people.

The United Nations Resident Coordinators Office is co-leading the COVID-19 response in collaboration with the Government of Zambia Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) complementing the Governments response. Eleven sectors were identified for this response with line ministries as lead and UN agencies co-leading sector responses. WHO continues as the technical co-lead agency supporting the Ministry of Health and Zambia Public Health Institute (ZNPHI). All sectors are coordinated by DMMU in the intersectoral coordination meeting. The Disaster Management Consultative Forum (DMCF) chaired by the National Coordinator DMMU and UN Resident Coordinator attended by all sector leads and co-leads, co-operating partners, INGOs, NGOs and the private sector.

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