European Union says opportunity was lost in cholera fight

Nancy Tembo

By Deogratias Mmana

The European Union Ambassador to Malawi Rune Skinnebach has said the government and its partners missed an opportunity to curb cholera when it was first reported in March last year, a situation which has led to a crisis.

Skinnebach said this Thursday after a meeting between nine EU ambassadors and President Lazarus Chakwera at Kamuzu Place in Lilongwe.


The meeting was part of the Cotonou agreement where the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States meet and discuss issues that border on their bilateral ties.

Skinnebach said the current cholera outbreak is not only the worst in Malawi but also the worst faced in the world.

“Clearly there were challenges at the outset to isolate the outbreak. We probably missed an opportunity to isolate the outbreak in Nkhata Bay before the rains. We could have done more,” Skinnebach said.


“This requires a lot of resources and resources take time to mobilise and it did not happen,” he added.

Skinnebach said now the international community is fighting hard to help Malawi curb the outbreak.

He said a humanitarian mission from the EU is in the country to assess the cholera situation, apart from the World Health Organisation mission that was in the country and left recently.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nancy Tembo admitted that the government did not handle the cholera outbreak with speed because it came unexpectedly.

Tembo said the country has also faced other challenges that compromised the fight against the outbreak.

“Cholera was unexpected in March and we have had all these other challenges. So yes, we were not prepared for cholera in March. So, it took a bit of time to organise ourselves,” Tembo said.

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