4 February, 2023

WHO, UNICEF call for assistance in Malawi’s cholera fight

One of the cholera treatment sites-Picture by UNICEF

UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are appealing to partners and donors to provide additional funds and support to Malawi to address gaps in fighting Cholera.

This comes as the country continues to register more cholera cases, especially in lakeshore districts.

According to WHO Country Representative Neema Rusibamayila Kimambo, the additional support will help ensure that lives continue to be saved, and a resilient health system is maintained throughout the outbreak.

This follows concerns that despite the continuing efforts in the national cholera outbreak response, and the need to intensify efforts, significant gaps exist.

This includes the urgent need to strengthen surveillance system for early detection and management, increase quality case management at cholera treatment units, provide critical supplies required to manage cholera cases and for water treatment and personal hygiene and water storage at the household level.

This has been described as a serious concern, as cases continue to rise outside the traditional hotspot districts, affecting lakeshore communities and crowded, urban areas with insufficient water and sanitation facilities.

However, in response to this the United Nations Children’s Fund-UNICEF and the WHO have enhanced their efforts to support the Government of Malawi contain and prevent further spread of cholera across the country.

“Every death from cholera is preventable with the tools we have today. WHO will continue to support the Ministry of Health in implementing immediate and long-term cholera control, response and preventive measures”, says Kimambo.

Earlier this year, WHO supported the Ministry of Health in securing 3.9 million doses of the Oral Cholera Vaccines sourced from the Global stockpile funded by GAVI-the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Task Force on Cholera Control.

The Vaccination campaign reached around over 1.1 million people.

UNICEF on the other hand supported effective planning and pre-positioning of cholera supplies.

As of now, the country has recorded 1,483 cases and 58 deaths with the case fatality rate at 3.9 %.

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