Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi has confirmed that Cholera death toll has risen to 10 after the death of one person in Lilongwe in the early hours of Tuesday .
Cholera is a water-borne diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated, but is easily cured with oral rehydration, intravenous fluids and antibiotics.
Clean water and hygiene standards are critical to controlling transmission.
Muluzi bemoaned that this was a worsening trend as the number of cholera cases are increasing in Malawi.
He said health officials have begun a media blitz to educate people about the risk of cholera and what steps they can take to avoid contracting it.
Muluzi said the main strategy for cholera control remains use of safe and potable water, good sanitation, and personal hygiene.
“In most cases what has happened in Lilongwe [in terms of cholera] is due to poor access of clean water but as government, we are looking forward to come with strategies to provide clean water to the people,” said Muluzi.
The new cholera cases have been reported from three districts namely Salima, Karonga and Lilongwe with 550 cases in total as some patients are still admitted in health facilities across the country.
“Although the cholera cases are rising, it is not yet an outbreak, I should just urge all Malawians to take care when it comes to sanitation issues like washing hands after visiting the toilet, boiling drinking water and many other measures that will prevent the disease from spreading,” advised Muluzi.
UNICEF’s representative to Malawi Johannes Wedenig told local media that “as long as people in Malawi don’t change the behaviour of using unsafe water, it’ll be very difficult to contain”.
He urged Malawians to follow strict sanitation rules and stressed the importance of hand-washing before eating or preparing food.
The country has also received 216,000 oral cholera treatment packs from the World Health Organization which are being distributed in the badly-affected northern region, Muluzi said.
Another 450,000 doses are expected to arrive soon for distribution in the rest of the country, added Muluzi, confirming the current toll.
Muluzi expressed optimism that additional vaccines would further help in controlling the spread of the disease, particularly in high-risk areas.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :