The rising wave of cholera cases keeps haunting the county’s ill-funded healthcare sector with a new case confirmed in Karonga and a disproved scare in Chitipa on Tuesday.
The survival of a four-year-old, who first sought treatment at Atupele Health Centre in Kaporo north of Karonga, marks further spread of the outbreak which has killed at least 12 people and hit over 250 patients in Machinga, Zomba and Nkhata Bay, according to Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe.
Citizens in the northern border district have been living at the risk of being infected since July when cholera broke out in Tanzania, especially the towns of Kyela, Mbeya, Ileje and Dar es Salaam where Malawian businesspeople go to order their merchandise.
On Tuesday, district health officer Charles Sungani briefed Karonga District Council and other stakeholders about a detected infection in the water-logged rice-growing stretch of Iponga where a woman died of a diarrhoeal disease on December 30.
“It’s true we are hit by cholera. Only one case has been confirmed and it’s a child. Three other suspected cases have been duly treated and discharged,” he said.
Sungani said the potential outbreak would largely overstretch the district’s resources given the prevailing shortage and delays of funding in public hospitals.
He said: “It’s an emergency and we didn’t budget for it. Presently, we have met partners to support us in provision of choline for water treatment, preventive wear for those handling patients and IV fluids for the patients.”
Similar concerns were raised in Chitipa where a suspected cholera case in Ifumbo on the boundary with Ileje district in Tanzania proved negative. n