Cholera cases hit 48 in Karonga
Cholera cases have risen to 48 with five deaths recorded in Karonga District amidst reports of inadequate medical supplies.
Confirming the development in a telephone interview on Wednesday spokesperson for the District Hospital Harlod Mtambo said four deaths were reported between Saturday and Monday with the latest occurring Wednesday morning.
According to Mtambo, people living in the flood-prone areas such as Kaporo, along the North Rukuru River, are at a higher risk of contracting the diarrhoea infection due to sanitation challenges.
“It is a catastrophe that has been further compounded by the persistent rainfall being received in the district, but we are doing everything possible to contain the situation,” said Mtambo.
“We have opened cholera camps in almost all the major health centres such as Chirumba and Kaporo where people are being treated as we work with various stakeholders to raise awareness among households to observe basic hygiene practices,” he added.
But when asked whether the District Health Office (DHO) is well stocked with all the necessary equipment for treatment of patients, Mtambo referred the matter to cholera coordinator for the district Edward Gondwe who, however, was non-committal.
Gondwe further referred the issue to District Health Officer Charles Sungani, who was reportedly in Lilongwe. Sungani’s mobile phone went unanswered after several attempts.
However, information sourced by The Daily Times indicates that the DHO does not have enough supplies of latex gloves, gumboots, chambers, tents and plastic sheets thus raising fears of further spread of the disease.
Chairperson for the district Health Advisory Council (Hac) Felix Mwakiyanjala decried the situation saying it is a cause for panic among communities.
“We hope government moves in quickly, because we will not blame health workers when they shun work due to lack of protective gear. They will want to remain safe too,” said Mwakiyanjala.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that the health team in the district was on Wednesday held in a closed meeting trying to strategise on how they can raise awareness of the outbreak to the locals in the wake of resource constraints.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhoea which can lead to dehydration and can kill within few hours if left untreated.
It usually results from drinking untreated water or eating contaminated food.
Historically, Malawi was worst hit by cholera outbreak between the years 2008-2009 during which 3,250 cases were reported and 82 deaths were recorded.
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