MALAWI – The Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Health, has secured a consignment of 2.9 million doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) from the World Health Organization (WHO) to tack the current outbreak spreading across the country.

WHO, through the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision, facilitated procurement of the cholera vaccines for the Malawi Government, with funding from the Global Alliance of Vaccines (GAVI).

This is the second consignment of cholera vaccines received by Malawi with support from GAVI, ICG, UNICEF and WHO. The first campaign of May 2022 reached over one and half million people,” the United Nations agency underscored.

WHO disclosed that the forthcoming vaccination campaign will prioritize 14 districts with high number of cholera cases namely Karonga, Rumphi, Mzimba North, Mzimba South, Likoma, Nkhatabay, Chitipa, Lilongwe, Salima, Nkhotakota, Kasungu, Nsanje, Zomba, and Blantyre. 

The targeted districts have been determined following in-depth analysis of historic and current epidemiological data and current risk factors,” the agency said.

According to the press release, the essential medical supplies have arrived in Malawi at a critical time as cholera continues to spread across Malawi, the country recorded 6,253 cholera cases and 188 deaths from 27 affected districts.

OCV is recommended for use during cholera outbreak to contain outbreaks and to limit the spread of the outbreak into new areas,” WHO stated.

Furthermore, the specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health is working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other development partners to support the Malawian government in coordinating emergency response activities.

The health partners aim to provide clinical care at dedicated treatment centers established closer to communities, train health care workers, strengthen water treatment systems, distribute essential supplies, and raise awareness on hygiene practices and prevention methods.

The Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda disclosed that the campaign will target 2.9 million Malawians comprising of adults and children aged one year and above living in highly cholera-affected districts.

The health minister further confirmed that the OCV campaign that will be carried over the next few weeks is just one of the country’s strategies to strengthen the ongoing cholera response and preparedness in Malawi.

In addition, we encourage early health seeking behaviour for treatment among all citizens, the provision of safe water and sanitation, and positive hygiene behaviour practices, which are critical to prevent and control the transmission of cholera,” he added.

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