A Zambian woman scoops dirty water from a shallow open well into a bucket.
Agnes Banda collects water from a contaminated source in rural Zambia.

How Catholics Can Help Fight Zambia’s Cholera Crisis

Zambians are facing the biggest health crisis they’ve experienced in decades — the deadly spread of cholera. At least 500 people have died and 13,000 people have been infected, with Zambian health officials using the country’s largest soccer stadium as a treatment center (World Health Organization, Associated Press).

That’s why our ministry partners in Zambia are working around the clock to save lives and prevent illness during this time of crisis. We’re inviting Catholics across the U.S. to help meet this urgent need and save lives in the name of Jesus Christ.

Why is Cholera So Dangerous?

Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial infection caused by contaminated water and food, which leaves countries and communities without access to clean water and sanitation at greater risk for an outbreak. Without immediate treatment, cholera leads to dehydration, severe electrolyte deficiency and, eventually, death. Children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk.

Although water scarcity impacts almost every part of the globe in some way — either through drought, contamination or a lack of infrastructure — families living in developing countries such as Zambia are impacted the most. There, the poor usually live in communities with very little infrastructure and no indoor plumbing. Instead, they spend hours each day trying to find water, usually from a stagnant pond, murky stream or shallow well. Because these ground sources are often contaminated by animal waste, farm chemicals, bacteria or parasites, dangerous illnesses like cholera are always just one drink of water away.

How Catholics Can Fight Cholera in Zambia

The good news is that Catholics can fight cholera before it starts. By delivering clean water to impoverished Zambian communities and empowering health outreaches with hygienic supplies and medicines, we can save lives. Cross Catholic Outreach is partnering with dioceses and ministries on the ground in Zambia that are taking active steps to be the hands and feet of Christ to those in need.

St. Thomas Mission Rural Hospital

Our ministry partner, the Daughters of the Redeemer, run the St. Thomas Mission Rural Hospital in the Diocese of Kabwe. This rural hospital is often the only option for health care for families living in rural Zambia, so it’s essential that we equip it with medicines and supplies that will aid in the prevention of cholera. We need your help to send antibiotics, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment to aid the hospital’s response to cholera in the diocese.

The St. Joseph Rural Health Center

Through their work at St. Joseph Rural Health Center, the Sisters of Mercy of St. Charles Borromeo have seen the suffering that contaminated water brings, so they have expanded their ministry goals to work in Chamilala, home of the St. Joseph Rural Health Center, and in Mpanshya and Chilanga. This includes an outreach that will bring clean water to local villages along with hygienic supplies to purify water and medicines. These supplies include chlorine, hand sanitizers and soaps, antibiotics, disinfectant, and other supplies.

St. Theresa Mission Hospital

The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi run the St. Theresa Mission Hospital, which will help treat and prevent cholera. With your help, we can provide the sisters with the supplies they need to support the Diocese of Ndola through the cholera crisis. They need disinfectants, chlorine tablets, hospital bedding and sheets, personal protective equipment, and cleaning equipment.

The Diocese of Chipata Water

The Diocese of Chipata has a proven track record of drilling clean water wells in rural communities. Along with drilling 88 wells that will deliver safe and clean water throughout the diocese, the support of compassionate Catholics is needed to provide preventive cholera vaccines, preventive medicine, and supplements link zinc and rehydration therapy.

Share the Love of Christ and Stop Cholera

Cholera is a preventable tragedy, but we must act quickly. The sooner we answer the cries of our brothers and sisters in Zambia, the more lives we can save. Through our Easter Catalog, we can save lives and meet the urgent needs of the poor worldwide. The Easter Season is one where we celebrate Christ’s triumph over death and the gift of eternal life. Your gift will bring this message of hope to children and families in developing countries like Zambia worldwide!

Meet Urgent Needs This Easter

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Donations from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures for this project incurred through June 30, 2025, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.