MSF handed over its projects to the Ministry of Health in 2013, and returned in 2016 to support the response to a cholera epidemic.
Cholera is a major public health issue in Zambia, with epidemics typically occurring during the rainy season. The outbreak in February 2016 was, however, the first to hit the capital since 2011.
Around 1.2 million people live in overcrowded informal settlements in the city, and with such a long period between outbreaks, they had little acquired immunity to the disease.
Between 9 and 25 April 2016, the oral cholera vaccine was administered to 423,774 people aged one and over. More than 100 MSF and Ministry of Health staff, as well as 1,700 volunteers, worked in the vaccination campaign, while the Ministry of Health provided care for patients in cholera treatment centres and worked to improve sanitation and hygiene conditions.
The Lusaka health authorities estimated that there were 1,079 cases and 20 deaths between February and June.