Malawi cholera death toll reaches 1 450


Cholera outbreak in Malawi. File photo

from MAVHUTO BANDA in Lilongwe, Malawi
Malawi Bureau
LILONGWE, (CAJ News) – THE death toll in the worst outbreak of cholera in Malawi’s history has risen to 1 450.

Refugees and asylum seekers, who have been hardest-hit by, and are at highest-risk of the further spreads of the water borne disease.

The current cholera outbreak, which started in March 2022, has affected all 29 districts of the Southern African country.

As of this past Sunday, nearly 45 000 cases had been reported.

Experts predict that, unless urgent, intensified action is taken to scale up the response by authorities, between 64 000 and 100 000 cases could be reported in the next three months.

On Monday, the United Nations and humanitarian partners in Malawi launched a flash appeal calling for US$45,3 million for the next five months.

It aims to assist 4 million people at highest risk, including 56 000 refugees and asylum seekers.

“Despite all the efforts taken since the first cholera case was reported in Malawi nearly one year ago, the situation remains of grave concern,” said United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Malawi, Rebecca Adda-Dontoh.

She lamented, “Every day, the number of cases increases, and more people die.”

“However, the good news is that, while cholera is highly transmissible, it is also easily treatable when cases are caught early and preventable when communities have access to clean water and good sanitation.”

The government of Malawi last week launched an anti-cholera campaign to address the most immediate needs of people impacted by the outbreak through an integrated response that brings together health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors.

When left untreated, cholera can kill in less than 12 hours, but with simple IV fluids, most patients are rapidly on the road to recovery.

“No one should die of cholera in 2023 and the world can, and must, step-up to help Malawians in their time of need,” Adda-Dontoh said.

As at the end of 2021, Malawi is host to around 53 000 refugees and asylum seekers mostly from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

A majority live in the Dzaleka refugee camp,which is overcrowded five-fold its capacity of 10 000 people.

– CAJ News


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