Malawi has received a consignment of 2.9 million doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) for a single-dose reactive campaign to the cholera outbreak in the country.
The consignment, which arrived Monday through Kamuzu International Airport, has come at a time the country is struggling to respond to the ongoing cholera outbreak.
Commenting on the development, Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said the vaccine will complement efforts to stem cholera cases.
“The OCV campaign, which will be carried over the next few weeks, is just one of the country’s strategies to strengthen the ongoing cholera response and preparedness in Malawi. The campaign will target 2.9 million Malawians comprising adults and children aged one year and above living in highly affected districts.
“However, we will still prioritise the provision of safe water and sanitation and positive hygiene behaviour practices, which are critical to prevent and control the transmission of cholera,” she said.
The OCV doses received will be sent to 14 districts with the highest number of cholera cases. These include Karonga, Rumphi, Mzimba North, Mzimba South, Likoma, Nkhata Bay, Chitipa, Lilongwe, Salima, Nkhotakota, Kasungu, Nsanje, Zomba, and Blantyre.
The World Health Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund and partners are supporting the Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Health to strengthen water treatment systems, case management, train healthcare workers, distribute essential medical supplies and raise awareness on hygiene practices and cholera prevention methods.
All the districts in Malawi have reported at least one cholera case since the confirmation of the first case in Machinga District in March this year.