MALAWI – Society of Medical Doctors (SMD) has cautioned government’s decision of reopening schools amidst the ongoing cholera outbreak.
The group says it is a risky move to reopen schools at the moment but if school authorities can make sure that all the cholera preventative guidelines including practicing hygiene and providing cholera vaccines in the schools are well implemented, then the impacts of the outbreak could be minimal.
The decision to delay the normal school opening calendar in some parts of the country was one of the government’s first response to cholera outbreak.
After two weeks the government through the Ministry of education announced that classes should resume on Tuesday, January 17th, 2023.
Dr. Victor Mithi, the group’s president, is of the view that education authorities in the country should heavily encourage students to get Cholera vaccine if both students and teachers are to remain protected.
“We all know that most of school going children are at higher risk of contracting the disease and even dying faster as compared to adults. This is because most of our children in Malawi are malnourished which mostly results into one having a weak immune system,” said Mithi.
“We also know that it is very difficult for the young ones to follow most of the preventive measures like washing hands and making sure that hygiene practices are up to standard.
“Therefore, we want to advise school authorities to intensify the hygiene measures around their school campuses and to encourage their learners to receive cholera vaccine.”
Normal school calendar in the capital Lilongwe and the commercial city, Blantyre were delayed for two weeks now, citing that the two cities were hot spot areas that could probably put many students at risk.
Government through the responsible ministries had put in place a taskforce to monitor the spread of the vice.
The disease has so far claimed not less than 595 lives, a development that many Malawians have described as worrisome.