By Yamikani Yapuwa
Blantyre, May 10, Mana: Cholera cases continue to rise in Blantyre District with the current statistics indicating that the District Health Office (DHO) has registered 36 cases so far, this year.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Monday, Blantyre DHO Health Promotion Officer, Wongani Mbale, attributed the trend to the use of unsafe water and poor hygiene practices.
“Out of the 36 cases, 11 are new with four cases on admission. We also have five suspected cases. Limbe and Zingwangwa health centres are registering most of the cholera cases.
“Most of the cases come from the villages located along Limbe River that use water from the river as well as shallow wells which is unsafe.
“Some communities do not have proper waste disposal as you will find waste being littered anyhow and such environment is breeding ground for cholera,” said Mbale.
Mbale further said currently, the DHO has intensified cholera interventions which include distribution of chlorine for treating water before use as well as conducting health talks with messages on cholera prevention and management.
“During health talks, we make people aware that they can manage the suspected cases at home before reaching the health facilities, like administering oral rehydration salts (ORS) as a remedy.
“We have also intensified surveillance in the district and MSF (Medicines sans Frontiers) is helping us with trainings on how to manage cholera at household level,” he said.
According to Mbale, the DHO also intends to conduct a cholera-vaccination campaign in all the cholera hotspots like Limbe, Zingwangwa, Mbayani and Chirimba next week.
“Planning is underway and we will be able to provide full information as we progress,” said Mbale.
Cumulatively, the country has 133 cholera cases and in its Cholera Situation Daily Report of April 8, the Ministry of Health cautioned on the urgent need to improve access to safe water and coverage on sanitation.
“Risk communication and community engagement should also be ongoing. Further, inter-district and cross-border coordination and collaboration is very crucial in the prevention and containment of this cholera outbreak,” the report indicates.