The Ministry of Health has said the cases of the deadly waterborne disease cholera in the country has not reached the extent where people can stop common practices such as the handshake, which can help spread diseases.
Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) proposed a ban of handshakes in the country to contain further spread of the disease that’s killed four people to date .
“Just like our neibhours Zambia where they have banned handshakes we can still do the same in our country,” said Mhen executive director George Jobe.
“I believe if Zambia has achieved to initiate the handshake ban, Malawi can do it too,” Jobe said.
Infectious diseases such as cholera are transmitted mainly through contaminated food and water, but they can also be passed on through contaminated hands.
Studies have shown that handshakes are very unhygienic and researchers have recommended banning the practice in hospitals.
Handshaking is part of many cultures and is used as a form of greeting or farewell.
In business circles, it is used as a sign of respect or indication that an agreement has been made.
However, in medicine, and especially in surgery, the hand is known to harbour many micro-organisms that cause diseases.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said the current cholera situation in Malawi which started in Karonga a month ago “is not yet that bad as it is in Zambia.”
He said: “Yes we have cholera outbreak but we have not reached the point of disaster where we should ban hand shakes,” he said.
According to MoH, current statistics indicate that Karonga has recorded 155 cases, Lilongwe has 18, Nkhata Bay has 18, Salima has 5, Dowa has two while Kasungu has one