By Ivy Tunkete Mwanyongo:
Government has said it is committed to strengthening healthcare systems in the country and enhancing the ongoing efforts to prevent Cholera and address the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said despite Malawi making progress in controlling the Cholera outbreak, Malawians must remain vigilant and avoid contentment.
During a press briefing in Lilongwe Wednesday, Chiponda reported that only three districts of Chikwawa, Mangochi, and Zomba are still experiencing sporadic cases of Cholera in Malawi.
The health minister said lack of adherence to hygiene practices, resulting from drinking water from contaminated water sources after Cyclone Freddy, contributed to the spread of Cholera, particularly in the mentioned three districts.
“When we say Cholera is no longer a public health emergency, it does not mean that there is no threat as there are other districts still recording news cases”, said Chiponda.
“As the ministry, we have aligned a number of interventions including continuing administering Cholera vaccine especially in the districts which are still reporting cases and dissemination of Cholera prevention messages under the “Titsetse Cholera campaign which was launched by President Dr Lazarus Chakwera”, added Chiponda.
She however indicated that despite the strides made in combating the Covid-19 and Cholera outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to rebuild and strengthen health systems, including immunization services that were negatively impacted during the pandemic period.
In a separate interview, WHO Representative Ishmael Nyasulu commended the Malawi government for its determined efforts in containing the Cholera and Covid-19 pandemics, even in the face of economic challenges.
“Given the financial constraints that the country is going through, I think it has been a good fight as Cholera has been the biggest pandemic that the country faced in years, and the government has done pretty well”, commended Nyasulu.
Nyasulu has since urged the government to continue working with various partners including international organizations on health as well as adhering to measures announced by the WHO.
According to Malawi’s Health Minister Khumbize, as of December 5th, 2022, a total of 58, 982 Cholera cases including 1, 768 deaths have been recorded in Malawi.