The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are stepping up their efforts to contain cholera in Malawi and are calling for additional funds and support
The cholera outbreak, initially confined to the southern part of the country, has now spread to the northern and central regions of Malawi. To date, 1,483 cases and 58 deaths have been recorded with a fatality rate of 3.9%. This is of great concern as cases continue to rise outside traditional red-light districts, affecting lakeside communities and overcrowded urban areas with insufficient water and sanitation facilities.
In response to this evolving situation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have intensified their ongoing activities to support the Government of Malawi in containing and preventing the spread of this preventable disease to more districts.
Despite continued efforts in the national response to the cholera outbreak and the need to scale up efforts, significant gaps exist. This includes the urgent need to strengthen the surveillance system for early detection and management; improve the quality of case management in cholera treatment units; provide essential supplies needed for cholera case management and water treatment, personal hygiene and water storage at the household level; increase timely community engagement and dissemination of communications on cholera prevention and positive hygiene practices.
UNICEF and WHO are therefore appealing to partners and donors for additional funding and support to address these challenges and enable them to better support the government in its efforts to contain the outbreak.
“Every death from cholera can be prevented with the tools we have today. WHO will continue to support the Ministry of Health in implementing immediate and long-term cholera control measures, intervention and prevention. The additional support will help ensure that lives continue to be saved, and a resilient health system is maintained during and beyond the current outbreak,” the WHO Representative said in the country, Dr. Neema Rusibamayila Kimambo.
“The impact of the wider outbreak will overwhelm the country’s already overstretched public health services and healthcare delivery systems, so we must act now. The good news is that we know the solutions. We are on the ground to provide humanitarian services in the affected districts, but we need more support to scale up our response. This will make a big difference for thousands of children and their families who are at risk of contracting this preventable disease. UNICEF remains fully committed to working closely with the government and partners in our collective response to the outbreak,” said UNICEF Representative in Malawi, Rudolf Schwenk.
Since the declaration of a cholera outbreak in March 2022, UNICEF and WHO have worked closely with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water and Sanitation, district authorities, health centres, partners and community members to develop a response plan and coordinate the response. ensure the delivery of essential supplies and services to families and communities in cholera-affected districts in Malawi.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO) – Malawi.