The number of people killed by cholera has surpassed the 1 000 mark with the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and Cholera expressing concern.
As of Tuesday, 1 002 deaths were recorded, which has exceeded 968 deaths that were recorded in 2002, making the current outbreak the worst in 10 years.
Cholera patients in a makeshift camp
Task force co-chairperson Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said on Tuesday that there is need for concerted efforts in mitigating the outbreak.
She attributed rise of the cases to poor handling of corpses.
Chiponda, who is also Minister of Health, said: “Outbreaks of cholera occur following such funeral feasts because the handlers of the corpse fail to properly wash their hands before preparing the meal.
“Cholera organisms are, therefore, transferred from the corpse through the handler to the food or water used in the meal in which they can replicate enough to cause disease.”
In view of this, she said burials must be supervised by healthcare workers to avoid further spread of the outbreak.
Chiponda reiterated that people must understand that bodies of cholera victims need to be decontaminated with chlorine while funeral handlers must have protective clothing.
Following the first reported case in March 2022, Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation and other partners started implementing numerous response activities to thwart potential spread of the outbreak.
Such response activities include supplying buckets for washing hands, chlorine to hotspot areas and administering vaccines which have unfortunately run out.
Malawi recorded its first ever cholera outbreak between October 2001 and April 2002 which affected 28 districts with 33 546 cases including 968 deaths.
In the current outbreak, as of Tuesday, 30 621 cases were confirmed with prospects of more to be recorded.
By breakdown, Mangochi has recorded 6 144 cases and 105 deaths, Salima has recorded 2 472 cases and 64 deaths, Nkhata Bay has recorded 1 514 cases and 44 deaths, Blantyre has recorded 4 611 cases and 158 deaths while Lilongwe has recorded 3 798 cases and 240 deaths.
Nkhotakota has recorded 1 271 cases and 53 deaths, Balaka has recorded 1 568 cases and 46 deaths, Machinga has 1 213 cases and 43 deaths, Rumphi has 1 047 cases and 17 deaths, Dedza has 1 026 cases and 41 deaths, Karonga has 925 cases and 23 deaths, Dowa has 806 cases and 22 deaths while Mzimba North has 469 cases and two deaths.
Thyolo has recorded 505 cases and 13 deaths, Chiradzulu has 503 cases and 23 deaths and Mulanje has 447 cases and 19 deaths.
Meanwhile, the country on Tuesday recorded 11 new Covid-19 cases.