The Zambia Statistics Agency (ZamStats) say this year’s census of population which starts on 16 Augustwill be conducted electronically, but it faces challenges from the coronavirus and funding gaps.

The interim ZamStats Statistician General Mulenga Musepa, said mapping and listing as well as the pilot census have been affected by funding and the coronavirus. 

He said, as of April this year, only six provinces have been mapped and listed and plans are underway to start in the remaining four provinces of Central, Muchinga, Luapula and Southern.

Mr Musepa said the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has allowed enumerators to undergo training to prepare them for the pilot census as well as the mapping and listing.

He said the agency must buy equipment, personal protective gear such as face masks and gloves, as well as hand sanitizers for the 1,600 enumerators who have been employed.

Mr Musepa explained that before going into the communities, enumerators will be quarantined for four days and monitored by health officials in their respective provinces. 

“We have had to sit down and look at the requirements which will make us compliant with the public health regulations so that we can reduce the risk of the staff, the enumerators going out there, even those that are enumerated by our staff. We have had to start procuring personal protective equipment like masks and we have had to procure hand sanitizers and hand washing basins”.

He Musepa added that ZamStats is also taking extra precaution and working closely with health workers in Muchinga province where Nakonde town is still a hotbed of the coronavirus.

“We want our enumerators and the public to have confidence in the census and we want to keep our enumerators and the public safe,” he said.

He said the agency is confident that the 2020 census is on tract and will be made more efficient by the use of the electronic devices.

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