A United Methodist church is providing clean water to help prevent cholera, even as the government eases some restrictions aimed at containing the outbreak that began in October 2017.
The outbreak has killed at least 63 people and an effort is underway to vaccinate more than 1 million people in Zambia, according to the World Health Organization.
The Jerusalem United Methodist Church has drilled a borehole and installed a water tank at a cost of about $5,000 to provide clean water in Sowezi, said the Rev. Daiman Mainsa, pastor of the church.
“As a church, we have joined our nation’s efforts in the vein to stop the spread of cholera. We are putting up the borehole water tank to prepare and also as a way to prevent the spread of the epidemic in our community. Let me take an opportunity to thank our friend and partner in the water project, Larry Dunn, who on a short notice engaged in our vision and helped so much in the success of the project,” Mainsa said. The Rev. Larry Dunn, a retired pastor from the Greater New Jersey Conference and friend of Mainsa’s, raised the money for the project and donated it to the church.
Cholera causes watery diarrhea and can kill within hours if left untreated, but can be treated with antibiotics and hydration. Safe water and good sanitation can control the spread of the disease, according to the World Health Organization.
The Zambian government is collaborating with some nongovernmental organizations to try to stop the spread.
The Ministry of Education had suspended the opening of schools and closed markets, which resulted in rioting in some cities, but the government recently relaxed some restrictions as the outbreak slowed, according to Reuters.
Church gatherings were suspended in Lusaka after the government consulted with churches, reported ZNBC-TV.
Misheck Mukumbi, a youth at Jerusalem United Methodist, said cholera spreads so fast it can be everywhere “before you notice it.”
“Therefore, putting up of the clean water by the church will really help our parish and the community as a whole. We are taking sensitization measures to educate our members and the community as a whole on the dangers of cholera,” he said.
He said the parish has had an erratic water supply that resulted in poorly functioning toilets. The new water project will help supply the parish with clean, safe water, he said.
The water tank will be named after Dunn in recognition of his quick response to help fight the cholera outbreak, Mainsa said.
Roydah Sikachiba, a resident of the Kandundu community where Jerusalem Parish is located, said the community would sometimes go four days with no water. She thanked the church for the water project.
“It is very much dangerous to live without water. A lot of diseases are associated with inadequate water supply, and you know clean water is a source of good health,” she said.
Mainsa called on all churches and others partners to help in any possible way to fight cholera.
Chikuta is a United Methodist communicator in Zambia. News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digest.