Ministry of Health director of preventive health services Stone Kabuluzi has attributed the country’s steady rise in cholera cases to unsafe water and large public gatherings, among other factors.
However, speaking in an interview yesterday, he said government is addressing these factors.
The ministry’s statistics show that since October 31, the country has registered triple figures of cholera cases every day, with the past seven days recording 1009 cases with 39 deaths.
So far, the country has registered 9 617 cholera cases and 293 deaths since the first case was reported in March at Machinga District Hospital.
A cholera treatment camp in Nkhata Bay
Mangochi District, which started registering cases two months ago, has now overtaken Nkhata Bay District. Mangichi has registered 1 681 with 35 deaths while Nkhata has recorded 1 391 with 38 deaths.
Kabuluzi said the initial cases in Mangochi started when some individuals travelled to cholera affected areas in other districts and they became ill upon returning home.
He said: “Movement of the patients through public transport led to the disease spreading to other parts of the district, especially in communities along the main roads.
“It was also noted that recently funeral gatherings lead to more people being infected.”
Kabuluzi said government quickly moved in to set up treatment centres in the affected areas to ensure that patients get treated on time.
Three weeks ago, Malawi received 2.9 doses of cholera vaccine from the World Health Organisation, which he said the ministry plans to roll out from Monday, November 28 2022.
Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) microbiologist Gama Bandawe earlier predicted a rise in cholera cases during the rainy season.
He called on authorities to ensure access to safe and clean water in lakeshore areas.
“In these areas, people rely on the lake and when contaminated, cholera spreads very fast. Authorities need to intensify water, sanitation and hygiene services,” said Bandawe.
Yet, some districts that recently recorded cholera cases such as Nsanje, Chiradzulu and Zomba have controlled the outbreak after passing over 14 days without reporting a cholera case.
Kabuluzi attributed the success to control measures intensified in the districts such as establishment of cholera treatment centres, contact tracing and risk communication.