By Collins Mtika, Lusaka, Zambia

The President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, has made a verbal request to the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) that his country be chosen as the location in Africa where indigenous production of cholera vaccines should be headquartered.

President Hichilema declared that no one needs to die from Cholera, Malaria, or any other illness. He prides himself on being his nation’s self-appointed “Marketer” on a variety of topics, from trade to tourism.

Since 1977, cholera has been a problem in Zambia, with Lusaka serving as one of the primary outbreak sites. Nevertheless, research has revealed that, aside from Lusaka and other well-known hotspots, all of the other high-risk districts in Zambia have borders or thoroughfares with neighbouring nations.

The leader of Zambia made the passionate appeal on Monday at the official opening of the third international conference on public health in Africa (CPHIA23), which is taking place at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, from November 27 to 30.

The CPHIA23 is being billed as the greatest global public health event outside of the yearly World Health Assembly, with approximately 5,000 in-person delegates and an extra 20,000 virtual participants in attendance.

Vaccine manufacturing is the second independence of Africa

President Hichilema was named the Global Cholera Control Champion by the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) in May 2022 at the esteemed World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision-making body is the World Health Assembly.

Speaking earlier during a press conference the Director General of the Africa CDC Dr. Jean Kaseya noted Africa still faces numerous health-related issues, such as high rates of infectious diseases, restricted access to infrastructure and high-quality healthcare services, and new health risks brought on by climate change.

“In the face of these challenges, urgent action is needed to ensure that hard-won gains in public health are not jeopardised by these evolving health threats,” Dr Kaseya said.

Featuring prominent scientists, inventors, researchers, and heads of state from Africa speaking and taking part, as well as health ministers. The four-day conference, with the theme “Breaking Barriers: Repositioning Africa in the Global Health Architecture”, will highlight innovative research and cutting-edge technologies while showcasing African-led solutions to public health issues.