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World Health Organization supports Malawi with 2 million cholera vaccine doses

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has supported Malawi’s fight against cholera with 2 million doses of cholera vaccine.

Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said this in Karonga after inspecting various interventions by the Malawi Red Cross Society which has poured K380 million into the fight against cholera.

“We are glad that WHO is going to assist us with about 2 million doses of cholera vaccine and we expect the consignment to be in the country in the next two weeks.

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“Karonga will be one of the districts that we are going to start with in terms of vaccination,” she said.

In April, the country received 1.9 million doses of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) from the Global Emergency Stockpile.

The vaccination campaign targeted 1.9 million people comprising all adults and children from one year old upwards who were living in flood-affected and cholera-prone districts.

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During the visit, Kandodo Chiponda was in the company of Minister of Local Government, Blessings Chinsinga.

Chinsinga said his ministry would continue to support the campaign against cholera through hiring of professionals in various structures under councils such as health.

He said fighting cholera needs a multisectoral approach.

“Cholera is not only a health issue. It is also a social issue and a sanitation issue; so, every sector has to play a role,” he said.

Secretary General for the Malawi Red Cross McBain Kanongodza said the organisation is targeting its interventions in 13 districts which have been affected by the outbreak.

“We have also gone a step further by supporting health centres with tents, so that the nurses and patients are given a conducive environment,” he said.

The society is also strengthening information dissemination so that people are made aware of what cholera is, he said.

As of October 23, 2022 only three districts of Chitipa, Phalombe and Thyolo had not been affected by the disease.

Earlier this month, government said it would need K14 billion to adequately deal with the outbreak.

KEY FACTS ABOUT CHOLERA

  • A global strategy on cholera control, Ending Cholera: a global roadmap to 2030, with a target to reduce cholera deaths by 90 percent was launched in 2017.
  • Researchers have estimated that each year there are 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera, and 21 000 to 143 000 deaths worldwide due to cholera.
  • Provision of safe water and sanitation is critical to prevent and control the transmission of cholera and other waterborne diseases.
  • Severe cases will need rapid treatment with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.
  • Oral cholera vaccines should be used in conjunction with improvements in water and sanitation to control cholera outbreaks and for prevention in areas known to be high risk for cholera.—WHO
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