Malawi sweats to order cholera vaccines


The Presidential Taskforce on Covid and Cholera has said the country has no stocks of oral cholera vaccine in central vaccine stores.

Taskforce co-chairperson Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma said the government has, through the Ministry of Health, placed an order for more doses through the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“There might be some few doses in some health facilities in some districts but these could be just leftovers from the time the vaccines were being administered,” he said.


Chalamira Nkhoma said while the country has placed a new order of the vaccines, there is a shortage of cholera vaccines at the global level, such that it is not known when the country will have the next batch.

“There are 32 countries in the world experiencing cholera outbreaks now, with at least 10 of the countries— including Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya— being in the African region,” he said.

Malawi received 3.9 million doses of oral cholera vaccines in May last year, with another consignment of 2.9 million doses, which were obtained through WHO, arriving in November.


The taskforce regards the vaccine as one of the strategies for controlling the further spread of cholera.

Cholera has been spreading at an alarming rate, with not less than 500 cases being registered every day in all 29 districts of the country.

As of Tuesday, the country had 39,728 cumulative cases since the first case was confirmed in Mach last year while 1,291 patients have died.

Epidemiologist at the Public Health Institute of Malawi Wiseman Chimwaza recently said Malawi is the worst hit country by cholera, with Lilongwe emerging as the epicentre of the outbreak.

He said the outbreak can be controlled if people use safe water and follow hygiene protocols.

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