Erratic water supply that has affected the southern region district of Chikhwawa during the last two months has resulted in the area recording an unprecedented number of cholera incidents, officials have said.
Since the start of rainy season, the district has recorded 58 cases of cholera out of the national statistics of 59, Ministry of Health Spokesperson Henry Chimbali said.
Chimbali said government had this year put in place exceptional interventions for cholera prevention that have helped to drastically reduce the number of cholera cases across the country.
“This year we really prepared to deal with cholera thorough the interventions that had been put in place and we indeed are managing to control it,” said Chimbali.
The cases in Chikhwawa were mainly recorded around the Boma because that is where the problem of water shortage hit hard and so far no death has been reported. The other case has been recorded in Blantyre.
Due to the serious water problems, majority of households were forced to be drawing water from unprotected wells and from the Shire River.
“The area has had serious water problems since early October and this forced people to resort to fetching water from unprotected wells and from the Sire River as well for drinking and other household chores,” said Chimbali.
However, the spokesperson said the ministry has been providing chlorine to the members of community to treat their water before any use and has also been conducting sensitizing meetings around the area.
Cholera is a serious, infectious disease with a high case fatality rate and is mainly exacerbated by poor sanitation and in some areas by floods which cause pit latrines to overflow and then sewage mixes with people’s drinking water.
Malawi, being one of the poorest countries in the world, has extremely low water and sanitation levels and many people have no access to safe water as a result they resort to drinking untreated water from swamps or from unprotected wells particularly in slums.