Leprosy hits 7 districts in Malawi as typhoid fever terrorises Neno : Cholera death toll rises

Leprosy, a disease older than the Bible, is back in Malawi and has hit seven districts.

A patient shows the effects of leprosy on his hands

A patient shows the effects of leprosy on his hands

Leonard Mawaya, program manager for the Department of Leprosy and Skin Diseases at the Ministry of Health, said the disease was restricted to Balaka in 2015 but has now spread to Nkhotakotakota, Phalombe, Mangochi, Mzimba, Salima and Machinga.

“As government, we are doing all we can to contain the disease but we are now overwhelmed, we need assistance from our development partners,” said Mawaya who is responsible for leprosy in the ministry of Heath.

He attributes the resurgence to complacency. He said people thought the disease was gone and funding was cut.

“Even the program’s office has got one vehicle catering for the whole country. So for us to do supervision from North down to South becomes very difficult. And for the rest of our officers, only one or two have got motor bicycles while the rest have to borrow,” Mawaya said.

Leprosy is far from the biblical plague it once was. The skin disease is caused by bacteria. It is infectious, transmitted via sneezing and coughing, but it is now treatable. The WHO recommends a multi-drug regimen that makes patients unable to transmit the infection after just one dose.

Mawaya said over 500 people are affected by the disease in the seven districts.

Without treatment, leprosy can be disfiguring and lead to complications like loss of feeling, permanent nerve damage and muscle weakness.

Skin disease specialists met recently in Malawi. They said leprosy escalation can be contained within two years but to do so, an additional $16,000 in funding per month is needed.

Typhoid fever

In Neno, typhoid fever has hit the district, three years after it killed over 40 people as hospital officials failed to diognise it because it had come with new features.

Heallth officials in the district say close to 200 people are suffering from the disease.

The diseases come at a time when the government is battling chokera, a fast killing water borne disease that hss so far claimed nine lives in Machinga and hass now been diagnised in Nkhata Bay.

Cholera cases

Ministry of Health officials say cholera has killed nine people since December 19, 2015 and 191 people suffurred from the disease.

Adrian Chikumbe, spokesman for the ministry of Health says the disease is spreading fast in areas surrounding Lake Chirwa.

He said the government, with the help of the World Health Organisation and Unicef are working together to contain the situation.

This announcement comes barely a day after 12 people have been admitted to Nkhata Bay District Hospital for cholera, the first case in the north in this rainy season. This has raised fears that there can be an outbreak in Mzuzu gets most of its raw food, mostly fruits.

A 65 year old man has reportedly died in Karonga while other four are under medical attention.

Karonga Environmental Health Officer Lewis Tukula said the incident was reported on 30th December 2015 at Kaporo rural health center where the four are admitted.

According to Tukula, despite the outbreak the district have no medical suppliers to curb cholera suspects.—Additional reporting by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

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8 thoughts on “Leprosy hits 7 districts in Malawi as typhoid fever terrorises Neno : Cholera death toll rises”

  1. John trust says:

    Mango time is cholera time

  2. Chifwede says:

    Mr. President, things are falling apart. It seems you are paying for the rigging sins you commited during the May 2015 Elections

    unfortunately innocent Malawians are suffering

  3. WAMISALA says:

    MAY GOD HAVE MERCY
    ON YOUR PEOPLE.
    (MALAWI)
    SERIOUSLY !!
    SONETHING IS WRONG
    PRAYERS ARE NEEDED !!

  4. Atate says:

    From the very opening remark, where do you get the reference that leprosy is older than the Bible? Let me know or else you are in the wrong.

  5. mbwangalambwangala says:

    too bad

  6. Medson Admon Kungu says:

    Social conditions become health conditions. The people affected are surely those bearing the brunt of our economic woes under the unwise and myopic leadership of Mr. Ibu.

  7. Peter M says:

    Malawi is hit by yet another calamity. Our country is in serious trouble. Let us throw Yona into the ocean and there will be peace,

  8. Mugonapamhanya says:

    Look at the trend of Cholera. It is along the lake shore area where half a century after independence people have not yet learned how to use the basic toilet, pit latrine despite health education right from primary school. Some African know how to resist everything.

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