Fear stopping people from seeking cholera treatment


Cholera patients continue to shun hospitals amid false rumours that the cholera outbreak is part of a plot to reduce the population of Malawi.

Malawi24 has discovered that rumors which have been spreading concerning cholera outbreak have brought fear of unknown to residents of Lilongwe, stopping them from seeking treatment for cholera.

Saliya Mussa, a 29-year-old woman who lives in Area 24, told this publication that she has been attending funeral ceremonies of people who died of cholera. According to Saliya, some of these were fully aware that they had signs and symptoms of cholera but chose not to go to hospital and only decided to seek treatment after their condition worsened.

Mussa added that despite being aware of such incidents, she and fellow community members cannot go to hospital to access medical attention because they are afraid that they might not come back alive.

“It is better to use Thanzi ORS or the local made one mixture of Salt and Sugar when l and my family notice the signs of cholera.

“These rumours of killing people might be true and l do not want to be a victim because lf l become one then my children are going to left alone and suffer,” she explained.

Health Surveillance Assistant for Sese Oral Rehydration Point Matrida Mlumpwa said that they are no longer respected and people do not listen whenever they want to communicate to the members of the community on any outbreak because the rumours have tarnished their image.

Mlumpwa went on to say that the cholera camp at Sese was established recently but there has been a low number of people accessing the services and many of the patients arrive at the camp in worse condition.

“We had a meeting with community members here in Area 24 and surrounding areas. We have discovered a lot. They think that government’s plan is to reduce population and Cholera vaccine is the method they are using to kill people.

“Some say that because some the patients are elderly, they think that the easy way to get rid of them is by injecting them with something that looks like cholera vaccine which is not vaccine but poison.

“While others say that the youths are also on the target because they want to kill them and remove their private parts and sell them,” She said.

According to Mlumpwa, when Covid-19 cases started to be registered it was the same issue and the same happened when Polio vaccine came and it is making their job to be very difficult.

She then said that they are doing all they can to enable members of communities to be aware of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, Co-Chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus and Cholera Dr Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma has said that there is an expectation that cholera cases will rise due to Cyclone Freddy.

In Malawi, 55,64 cases and 1,704 deaths have been recorded since the onset of the outbreak in March last year. A total of 53,235 people have recovered and 210 are currently in the treatments centres.

Follow us on Twitter: