WHO donates cholera supplies to step up cholera outbreak response in Malawi
The World Health Organization (WHO) has donated cholera kits and medical supplies to the Ministry of Health in Malawi to step up its cholera outbreak response. The WHO country representative for Malawi Dr Neema Rusibamayila Kimambo made the official handover of the supplies worth over USD190,000 to the Minister of Health Honorable Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda MP, in Lilongwe on 25 October 2022.
Malawi is facing upsurge in cholera cases, with 26 out of the 29 districts of the country affected. Earlier in October, the Ministry of Health made a call for more support towards the response as the country is running low on supplies. Following the appeal, WHO expedited the shipping of urgent cholera kits and medical supplies to support the country’s target of containing the outbreak before the rainy season starts.
The donated cholera supplies comprise of medical supplies such as infusion sets, antibiotics, and intravenous fluid (ringers lactate) estimated to serve at least 4900 cases. Additionally, WHO has printed 140,000 cholera Information, Educations and Communication (IEC) materials to enhance knowledge of the disease which ultimately promotes cholera prevention and control practices.
The Minister of Health, Honorable Kandodo Chiponda MP, commended WHO for the rapid response noting that the supplies will support to saving lives. The Minister added that cholera fatality rate is unacceptably high and there is need for more intervention to prevent further deaths.
“We have intensified response activities in all the affected districts to ensure that no more lives are lost due to cholera. These cholera supplies will help to improve management of cholera cases both at community and facility level and subsequently prevent deaths.” Said Honorable Chiponda.
The rise in cholera cases in districts that were previously non cholera hotspots have created pressure on the health system of the country as this has come on the back of other public health emergencies including polio outbreak and COVID-19. The WHO Country Representative for Malawi Dr. Neema Rusibamayila Kimambo said WHO is committed to ensuring that populations affected by the cholera outbreak have rapid access to essential life-saving health services including cholera prevention messages.
“We are also calling upon our funding partners, stakeholders, WASH sector, and Health Cluster members to enhance collaboration with the local health authorities to ensure a proactive and coordinated approach to cholera response across Malawi.” Added Dr Kimambo.
In addition to the cholera supplies, WHO is working closely with the Ministry of health and partners to provide critical training for health care workers, to improve case management in the cholera treatment centers and enhance surveillance on the ground for early detection and response.
Malawi signed a Global Roadmap to end cholera by 2030. Amidst the cholera outbreak, WHO continues to support Malawi to implement effective cholera control strategies. WHO has successfully supported the Ministry to secure 2.9 million doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) from the Global stockpile. The OCV is targeted for all those who are 1 year and above in communities in the districts in the northern region where most cases are being recorded as well as some high-risk districts in the central and southern regions.
Cholera is a waterborne bacterial infection that can spread quickly through a population. The disease is primarily contracted by consuming water or food contaminated with the cholera bacteria Vibrio cholerae. It causes uncontrollable diarrhoea that, if left untreated, can lead to severe dehydration and death.
A call was made for everyone and every sector to play their part to control the Cholera outbreak and prevent further spread.