Nearly 23,000 cases reported since outbreak began last March
The death toll in Malawi’s worst cholera outbreak in two decades has reached 750, according to Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda.
There are currently 892 patients in hospitals, while cases were reported in 27 districts over the past two weeks, Chiponda said in a statement.
The country of some 20 million people has detected 22,759 cholera infections since the first case was reported last March.
Despite the lingering crisis, the government has decided to reopen schools in the commercial hub Blantyre and capital Lilongwe from Jan. 17.
They were initially scheduled to reopen on Jan. 3 but that was delayed for two weeks.
Chiponda said the Health Ministry is satisfied with the sanitary measures and overall conditions in Blantyre and Lilongwe, which have a combined population of over 2 million.
“We continue to record a rising number of cases across the country, despite signs of reduced transmission and deaths in a few areas,” she said.
“So, we need to adhere strictly to sanitation and hygiene measures,” she added.
Cholera, an acute diarrheal disease caused by an infection of the intestine, can lead to severe dehydration and death if left untreated.
Despite a combination of interventions, including a vaccine drive that started last May, the outbreak kept on spreading and has now affected all 28 districts in the country.
Dr. Gama Bandawe of the Malawi University of Science and Technology said cholera management in the country “is improving and the number of deaths should start dropping.”
“One factor is that the government’s policy of treating cholera patients as close to their homes as possible is helping,” Bandawe, who heads the Biological Sciences Department at the university’s Academy of Medical Sciences, told Anadolu.
“The second is that cholera patients are being taken to treatment centers in time, so we should see a decline in the number of deaths soon.”
Leave a Reply