By JAMES KUNDA-
ZAMBIA has built sufficient response capacity to handle the looming COVID-19 fourth wave, the Ministry of Health has said.
However, this can only be enhanced with the public’s adherence to preventive measures such as the ongoing national vaccination programme against the pandemic.
Speaking at the weekend during a Media Science Cafe (MESICA) workshop for journalists in Lusaka, Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) Infectious Diseases Specialist Paul Zulu said the country was likely to experience the fourth wave next month.
But Dr Zulu said the situation was manageable with enhanced public adherence to the health guidelines.
“You may recall that at the height of the third wave, we would record an average of more than 1,000 new admissions a day and this greatly stressed the country’s health systems. But coming from that experience, we have put extra interventions, such as vaccination, which are key in overcoming the anticipated fourth wave,” Dr Zulu said.
Dr Zulu said a full national lock-down, if the country succumbed to the fourth wave, could only be considered after a partial one, as was previously being implemented, did not yield the desired outcomes.
Dr Zulu said the country was in the process of gradually migrating towards introducing a vaccination programme for children against the pandemic.
He said this in response to a question about when Zambia would join other countries, such as South Africa, which were administering the Pfizer vaccine to children.
“It is normal for children to be vaccinated against an outbreak. This has previously been done for diseases such as cholera and polio and so it is also possible for COVID-19,” he said.
Dr Zulu said the ministry had started mobilising for the establishment of infrastructure to store highly environmentally sensitive vaccines such as the Pfizer to avoid damage.