The Medicines San Frontiers (MSF) has deployed about 70 health workers in Nsanje and Chikhwawa in readiness for waterborne and airborne diseases that are likely to follow the recent floods.
The health workers, who include clinicians and nurses, are already on the ground in the two districts, as health and sanitation situation continues to dwindle in the camps where the displaced flood victims are staying.
MSF rapid response follows fears of imminent danger of diarrhea and malaria breakout, as about 353 people are sharing one makeshift toilet and bathroom at Mphatso Camp located in Fatima, Nsanje, for instance.
At the camp, the 353 people are also sharing only 98 blankets and 11 mosquito nets and a 40 by30 metres room, the situation one of the health workers, Elisha Pambalipe, fears is a potential breeding ground for rape cases, which can also scale up HIV and Aids transmission.
“Sharing a single toilet and bathroom has increased open defecation, which may result in Cholera outbreak. We also fear for the outbreak of skin diseases and Tuberculosis,” said Pambalipe.
The situation is even far worse at M’bwazi Primary School where over 1000 people are camping and sharing only 150 blankets and there is a shortage of mosquito nets.
The Advocacy and Communications Officer for MSF, Wilfred Masebo disclosed that his organization has also deployed health workers in all the districts affected by the floods such as Mulanje, Phalombe, Blantyre and Mangochi.
“We plan to remain on the ground up to somewhere in April because we anticipate disease outbreaks as the waters turn themselves into swamps. We will continue monitoring the situation as we keep mounting
toilets, providing mosquito nets, ORS and water-guard,” said Masebo.
And according to MSF Deputy Director of Logistics Luke Ngwira, the organization is mainly focusing on non-food items such as water buckets, soap and cups.