The Ministry of Health (MoH) says it has made strides in controlling a possible cholera outbreak through a number of interventions.
MoH spokesperson Joshua Malango, in a written response yesterday, said through various mechanisms it implemented, as of April 8, the country has registered only 13 cases in five districts with one resulting in death.
According to Malango, some of the mechanisms the ministry has been implementing include setting district epidemic management committees and district rapid response teams which are active and able to investigate and respond to cholera outbreaks, disease surveillance teams to detect any outbreaks and ensuring supplies necessary for cholera prevention are available.
“Central Medical Stores Trust [CMST] has all the supplies in stock and health education on water, hygiene and sanitation is intensified with a number of stakeholders like schools, churches, mosques and community leaders taking part,” he said.
Besides, Malango also said capacity for cholera case management has been put in place, chlorination of water with poor access has been intensified and that cross border coordination and collaboration with neighbouring districts has been strengthened.
According to MoH statistics, two cases were reported in Blantyre, Chikwawa had one reported case, Nsanje had seven, Mchinji had two and Mwanza had one case. One death was reported in Mchinji.
Of the 13 cases reported, nine were confirmed through culture while four were epidemiological and the nine cases reported from Nsanje, Chikwawa and Blantyre were before floods occurred in parts of the districts.
However, according to Malango, the case that was reported in Mwanza was for a Malawian who works in Moatize District in Mozambique where he got sick. The first case was reported in Blantyre on December 4.
In a separate interview, health rights activist Maziko Matemba commended the ministry for keeping cholera at bay, but said there is need to do more to completely eradicate the disease.
“We know it is possible if they continuously apply lasting strategies such as investment in primary health care approaches but also encouraging integration of interventions with new innovations such as cholera vaccines,” he said.
Last year, cholera affected about 1 000 people and killed 33 in 13 districts after the first case was reported on November 24 2017.