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‘Councils lack capacity to contain Cholera’

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Most District Councils do not have enough resources to contain cholera outbreak that has so far affected seven districts and left four people dead.
A grouping of Environmental Health Experts (Meha), also known as Health Inspectors in Malawi, issued a warning yesterday saying the cholera-prone areas need better preparation
The group’s president Kondwani Mamba, who is also District Environmental Health Officer for Mangochi, explained in an interview that their assessment has shown that most district councils that have been listed as cholera-prone areas for this year have no capacity to handle the outbreak.
He said this year’s cholera outbreak has exposed poor planning by local councils to prevent the disease which he says is predictable in terms of when and where it occurs.
For instance, he said, cholera in Malawi usually occurs from October to March and it is disheartening to note that local councils were not implementing hygiene awareness campaigns to prevent the disease in prone areas.
“Most local councils do not have enough resources to handle cholera cases at the moment. But the most critical things at the moment is to make sure that councils have resources to prevent the spread of the disease through promotion of best hygiene practices,” said Mamba.
For example, Mamba said, Mangochi District Health Office only has emergency medication to deal with 20 cases of cholera.
He says, currently, the district has no Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and other medication that are used to prevent and treat cholera.
This, he said, is a common scenario in most district councils which have no resources such as medication, money for awareness campaigns and technical expertise to prevent and stop spread of cholera.
He, however, expressed hope that the situation will improve because the Ministry of Health has shown political will to engage partners that can help with resources to contain the disease.

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