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Cholera cases hit 25,000 mark

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By Taonga Sabola, Audrey Kapalamula & Llywellenie Mpasa:

Malawi has registered 25,458 cumulative cholera cases since the disease broke out in March last year.

The figure is 7,542 shy of the 33,000 worst case situation recorded in 2002.

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Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda disclosed this in Lilongwe on Tuesday when she received a consignment of 104 buckets of chlorine and 550,000 facemasks from Good Neighbours, all valued at K16 million to help in the fight against cholera and Covid.

Kandodo Chiponda said the fight against cholera is far from over with the number of cases growing by at least 500 per day.

She said as of Monday, 841 people had died from cholera.

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“While the government, through my ministry, in collaboration with partners and many well-wishers continue to mobilise resources to contain the outbreak, we, as a nation, need to increase our efforts at individual and community levels to avoid cholera and also further losses of lives,” she said.

Good Neighbours Malawi Country Director Gyo Jin Joo said they decided to donate the consignment as one way of helping the government fight diseases.

“As we all know, the rate of cholera infections has drastically increased and it remains a serious public health threat in Malawi. Children are among the most vulnerable victims of the disease, and as an organisation with a vision of protecting children and their communities, Good Neighbors Malawi could not stand idly by without providing support,” Joo said.

Meanwhile, schools in the major cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre opened Tuesday for the second term, with authorities deploying stringent measures to prevent cholera from spreading using learning facilities.

Schools in the two cities delayed opening for two weeks due to increased cases of cholera.

A visit to some schools in the administrative capital, Lilongwe, revealed that authorities have intensified efforts to ensure that there is improved hygiene and sanitation.

At Kawale and Chiwoko primary schools in Lilongwe, authorities have put a number of interventions, including encouraging learners to wash hands while ensuring availability of wash materials.

Learners are also encouraged to wash hands after using toilets.

Kawale Primary School Head teacher Zaula Ndau Lobi said they have put much effort in sensitising learners to the importance of washing hands regularly.

One of the block leaders for Kawale, Fekitala Banda said he has told community members not to bring pre-cooked foods to school premises.

Secretary for Education Chikondano Mussa said her team was moving around the cities to monitor if the schools are adhering to guidelines.

In Blantyre, school authorities were equally alert.

A visit to South Lunzu Primary School on Tuesday revealed that learners had started classes, with all hygiene measures being followed in line with the directive from the Ministry of Education.

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