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Cholera gives ministry headache

Adrian Chikumbe

By Deogratias Mmana:

Cholera, which broke out in February this year, has now attacked at least 3,000 people and killed 92 as of Tuesday this week.

Tuesday’s daily cholera update from the Ministry of Health shows that the country registered 28 new cases, 2,999 cumulative confirmed cases, 49 admitted cases and 18 discharges. The update shows that 19 districts have been affected, so far.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said the outbreak has come at a time it was not expected and has, therefore, posed a challenge to the availability of resources and equipment.

“This is the time we begin to mobilise resources for cholera [but] now we are caught off guard. We do not have resources around this time but we will continue working with several partners,” Chikumbe said.

He said fighting cholera demands the intervention of all stakeholders. For example, he said some institutions have to provide water while others enforce by-laws related to cholera.

Chikumbe said some cases in the Southern Region are a result of the effects of tropical storms which destroyed latrines, especially in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts.

For Blantyre, he said, many water kiosks manned by the Blantyre Water Board were closed, forcing people to use untreated wells.

He attributed the proliferation of cases in lakeshore districts to the movement of fishers and the tendency of people who defecate in the water.

Parliamentary Committee on Health Chairperson Matthews Ngwale said in an interview that, since cholera is about hygiene, his committee has planned to conduct a tour to appreciate the extent of hygiene and sanitation challenges in the country.

Cholera is a bacterial disease that causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration and usually spreads through water.

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