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Government intensifies cholera response

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George Jobe

The government has engaged an extra gear in the fight against cholera, indicating that one of the drastic measures it is taking is the temporary recruitment of healthcare personnel.

As of Saturday, December 31 2022, statistics compiled by the Ministry of Health (MoH) indicated that 19 people died on the day, bringing the total number of deaths to 576 since the first case under this wave was identified in Machinga District on March 22 last year.

About 930 are in hospital while, overall, 17,448 people have been diagnosed with the disease

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Presidential Taskforce on Cholera Co-chairperson Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has told The Daily Times that government plans to recruit 182 healthcare workers, who include laboratory assistants and nurses, in cholera hotspots.

“I can confirm that government has secured funding for the wages of various healthcare workers to be recruited for a short time. This is part of the cholera outbreak containment initiative,” she said.

Kandodo Chiponda has since appealed to traditional, block and religious leaders and community policing members in cholera-affected areas to notify healthcare workers of any case of people hiding or keeping suspected cholera patients in their communities from seeking care.

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Meanwhile, health rights advocate Maziko Matemba has described the government’s decision to recruit more workers as a step in the right direction.

“This is welcome news, looking at the increase in cholera cases.

“On the other hand, individuals must play their part because it is about personal hygiene. We also hope key ministries of Water and Sanitation as well as Local Government are doing their part to control the further spread of cholera,” Matemba said.

Malawi Health Equity Network Executive Director George Jobe concurred.

He said there is a need to spread cholera messages more, apart from using traditional media.

“Sometimes when you see the way people are behaving, it is like we do not have cholera. You find that they are even eating food that is not hot, straight from the street,” he said.

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