Ministry of Health (MoH) has said floating houses which people in Machinga’s Lake Chilwa area reside in are among major contributing factors for the high number of cholera cases and deaths in Machinga as compared with other affected districts.
As of yesterday afternoon, MoH had registered 309 cases and 12 deaths from Machinga, Zomba, Nkhata Bay and Karonga since the country recorded the first case on December 19.
The breakdown of the cases is as follows: Nkata Bay 18, Karonga four, Zomba 52 and Machinga 235 with all the 12 deaths occurring in Machinga.
When MoH first confirmed reports of the outbreak on Boxing Day last year, it was just Zomba and Machinga that were affected with 19 cases and one death in Machinga and seven cases with no death in Zomba.
Speaking in an interview from Machinga where Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume led MoH officials on an assessment mission, MoH director of preventive health services Storn Kabuluzi said people in Machinga are living in floating houses right on the lake.
He said this is where MoH believes the problem lies because unhygienic practices are being done while taking patients to treatment centres takes time.
Cholera is a predictable and preventable disease transmitted through poor sanitation and hygiene as well as poor preparedness.
For many decades, Malawi has been struggling with cholera—both in its prevention and treatment.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), unlike other diarrhoeal diseases, cholera can kill healthy adults within hours and individuals with lower immunity, such as malnourished children or people living with HIV, are at greater risk of death if infected by cholera. n