MALAWI – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are appealing to partners and donors for additional funds to support the Government of Malawi in containing the spread of water-borne disease Cholera amid outbreak.
Despite the continuing efforts in the national cholera outbreak response, cases continue to rise outside the traditional hotspot districts, affecting lakeshore communities and crowded, urban areas with insufficient water and sanitation facilities.
UNICEF and WHO have stepped up their ongoing activities to support the Government of Malawi in containing and preventing the spread of the preventable disease thus additional support and funding will enable the agencies to better support the Government in its efforts to contain the outbreak.
The cholera outbreak, initially limited to the southern part of the country, has now spread to Malawi’s northern and central regions. To date, 1,483 cases and 58 deaths have been recorded with the case fatality rate at 3.9 per cent.
“UNICEF remains fully committed to working closely with the government and partners in our collective response to the outbreak,” said UNICEF Malawi Representative Rudolf Schwenk.
UNICEF and WHO have been working closely with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, district authorities, health centres, partners and community members in developing the Ministry of Health’s cholera preparedness and response plan.
In addition, the two United Nations agencies have been coordinating the response ensuring the delivery of essential supplies and services to the families and communities in cholera-affected districts in Malawi including the provision of cholera treatment kits and doses of the Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV).
WHO explained that the additional funding and support will help ensure that lives continue to be saved and a resilient health system is maintained during and beyond the current cholera outbreak in Malawi.
The World Health Organization highlights that there is dire need to strengthen surveillance system for early detection and management and to increase quality case management at cholera treatment units situated in Malawi.
WHO further said that there is urgent need to provide critical supplies required to manage cholera cases and for water treatment, personal hygiene and water storage at the household level since the cholera outbreak has now spread to Malawi’s northern and central regions.
The World Health Organization outlined that there is need to increase timely community engagement and dissemination of communications around cholera prevention, and positive hygiene practices.
Furthermore, WHO will continue to support Malawi’s Ministry of Health in implementing immediate and long-term cholera control, response and preventive measures.
The Representative of the World Health Organization in Malawi Dr Neema Rusibamayila Kimambo stressed that the impact of the larger outbreak will overwhelm the already over-burdened public health services and health-care delivery systems in the country while urging partners to act promptly.
The WHO team is working with the Ministry of Health and partners to strengthen disease surveillance, provide medical treatment for patients and distribute laboratory supplies.
The WHO team is also working closely with relevant Malawian ministries and partners to monitor water quality and chlorinate public water supplies as well as promote health education and hygiene among affected and at-risk communities.
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