Ministry of Health implementing measures to contain Cholera outbreak


Ministry of Health and Population says it is implementing measures, including vaccination, to contain Cholera outbreak in the country.

The Minister of Health Hon Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, disclosed this during the commemoration of World Health Day at a press briefing in Lilongwe.

Malawi today has joined the rest of the World in commemorating the World Health Day that falls on 7th April every year. This year’s commemoration is celebrated under the theme “Our Planet, Our Health

Speaking at the presser, Minister of Health Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said the Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Health has put measures and activities in place to prevent and control spread of the outbreak.

The activities include regular cholera control coordination and stakeholders meetings at Central and District Levels such as the Health Cluster meetings.

She added that the ministry is also conducting prevention and control activities, including prompt treatment of cholera patients.

Surveillance on cholera is another activity;the Ministry has intensified surveillance on cholera and all diarrheal diseases.

“All Districts are reporting on cholera, even those without cases are “zero reporting”. Ongoing community sensitization through health education on cholera prevention and control is being done by the Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) at Community Level. We are also working with the Media, the Community Leaders, Political Leaders and Religious Leaders in disseminating cholera prevention messages to the people,” said Chiponda.

The Minister urged Malawians to continue washing hands with soap before and after handling/preparing food; after visiting the toilet and after changing baby nappies, safe drinking water by adding chlorine or boiling and food safety: preparing food under hygiene conditions; and properly washing of fruits with clean safe water before eating them.

Communities are also being advised to seek treatment early whenever they are ill at the nearest health facility.

Chiponda also hinted that his Ministry adopted the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) with an aim of making the country Open Defecation Free (ODF) by promoting sanitation and hygiene in the communities, and its objective is to reduce sanitation related diseases. Many Traditional Authorities have been certified ODF free and this strategy has helped many Traditional Authorities to be cholera and diarrhoea free.

During the briefing, the Ministry of Health received cholera medical supplies from the World Health Organization. Chiponda said the donation has come at the right time and they will help the Ministry to implement the cholera control activities.

“These supplies are mainly for the 8 Districts which were affected by the tropical storm ANA and cyclone Gombe. As we have heard from the WHO, these kits contain all the medical supplies we need for cholera diagnosis and treatment including care of a cholera patient and also the supplies for cholera prevention. These kits arrived in the Country between 17th and 18th March, 2022, and they have been distributed to the 8 Districts,” said Chiponda.

Chiponda also disclosed that they will be receiving a consignment of 1,947,695 doses of cholera vaccine that will be administered to the 8 most affected districts, of Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mulanje, Phalombe, Blantyre, Machinga, Balaka and Mangochi.

She then reminded all people in the Country to go to the hospital early if they develop signs and symptoms of cholera or if they are suffering from any other disease. Medical supplies for treatment of cholera are available in all health facilities in the Country.

In his remarks, World Health Organization Country Representative Dr. Janet Kayita commended the country in its efforts in fighting Cholera outbreaks. She then emphasized on the need to train health workers on how best they can handle the cholera cases.

In Malawi, there is cholera outbreak mainly in the floods affected District of Nsanje. The first cholera case this rainy season was reported by Machinga District on 28th February, 2022.

The cholera report on 6th April, 2022, shows that the Country has reported a total of 65 cholera cases and 3 deaths. This is a cumulative number of cholera cases and most of these cases are well and discharged from the treatment centre.

61 of these cholera cases were reported by Nsanje District especially Ndamera Health Centre and two of them by Machinga District. Most of these patients are not vaccinated against cholera.