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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Malawi moves to introduce cholera vaccine as cases rise

Plans are underway to start administering a cholera vaccine to some southern districts in Malawi, as the number of cholera cases has been rising since the outbreak began in January.

Malawi has recorded more than 200 cases, including seven deaths and 26 hospitalisations, according to a daily update released by the health ministry on Thursday.

The update said the outbreak, which began in Nsanje district in January, has spread to four other regions of southern Malawi: Neno, Chikwa, Machinga and Blantyre.

Records show that as of Thursday, there were 97 registered cases in Nasanje, 53 in Blantyre, 38 in Neno, 12 in Chikawa and two in Machinga.

FILE – A woman draws water from an unsafe well at Kawondo, Area 36, ​​in Lilongwen, Malawi on January 25, 2018.

Deputy spokesman for the district health office in Blantyre, Wongani Mbale, blamed the outbreak on poor sanitation.

“From what we’ve gathered, it looks like a lot of people are using unsafe wells, which are a source of infection,” Mabale said. “The water is contaminated. So as a district, we think the reason is the use of contaminated water.”

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by consumption of food or water contaminated with bacteria. The disease affects both children and adults and can die within a few hours if left untreated.

To contain the outbreak, Malawi’s government has announced plans to begin administering the cholera vaccine this month in all affected districts.

Health ministry spokesman Adrian Chikumbe told a local newspaper that the government has 2.9 million doses of the orally administered vaccine since May 23.

Mbale of the Blantyre health office said his office has begun to take measures to combat vaccine hesitancy, which hindered the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“From next Monday, we are doing some briefings on health workers to train HSAs (Health Surveillance Assistants) on how they can implement this activity,” he said. “After that, we will have orientation and sensitization meetings with the community so that they can get the vaccine without any doubt, as you know most of the people are scared of the vaccine, saying maybe it is for COVID.”

George Jobe, executive director of the Malawi Health Equity Network, a health rights organization, said that in addition to cholera, there is a need for the government to address sanitation problems in many rural areas in Malawi.

“In Nano, for example, water has been a challenge. There was a time when [people in] Neno got typhoid because of the water. And we also understand that the places that have been affected are dependent on the Lisungwi River. In this case, there is a need to provide clean water even in inaccessible rural areas,” Jobe said.

The government said it is distributing chlorine to the affected areas for water treatment, as well as sending cholera control information to the people through various channels of communication.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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