MOZAMBIQUE— According to Mozambique authorities, at least 150 people have died from cholera in the last two months, with the majority of deaths occurring in the district of Gile in the central province of Zambezia.
During a press briefing following a cabinet meeting in Maputo, Filimao Suaze, spokesperson for the Council of Ministers, revealed that from September 14 to November 13, a staggering 36,930 cases were reported nationwide, resulting in a fatality rate of 0.4 percent.
The gravity of the situation is underscored by the fact that in the preceding 24 hours alone, Mozambique recorded 70 new cholera cases, 62 of which required hospitalization.
Additionally, 505 new cases were reported in the past week. Despite these alarming figures, Suaze noted that no new fatalities were reported in the latest 24-hour period.
Responding to the outbreak, the Council of Ministers has mobilized teams to assess diarrheal diseases, particularly cholera, in the central and northern provinces, given the onset of the rainy season.
Previous Ministry of Health data indicates that during the last rainy season, from November 2022 to May 2023, cholera affected more than 30,000 people in Mozambique, resulting in at least 141 deaths.
Cholera, which is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae and spreads through contaminated food or water, is a major public health threat, according to the WHO.
It can lead to severe acute watery diarrhea within 12 hours of exposure and, if untreated, can be fatal within hours.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes cholera as a global menace, closely tied to inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities, particularly in peri-urban slums and displaced persons’ camps.
Despite being a treatable disease, the WHO has warned of a potential shortage of cholera vaccines by 2025, projecting that one billion people across 43 countries could be at risk.
Mozambique has been identified as one of the countries most vulnerable to this looming crisis.
While immediate medical interventions are crucial, the long-term solution to cholera control lies in economic development, universal access to safe drinking water, and proper sanitation.
Implementing sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) solutions is vital not only for cholera prevention but also for addressing other water-borne illnesses.
This approach aligns with broader development goals, including poverty reduction, malnutrition mitigation, and improvements in education.
In the face of this outbreak, countries affected by cholera are encouraged to bolster disease surveillance and national preparedness to detect and respond to outbreaks swiftly.
The current situation in Mozambique underscores the urgency of addressing both the immediate health crisis and the underlying systemic challenges to prevent future outbreaks.