UK supports Malawi with K600m as cholera response 

The United Kingdom (UK) has committed over K600 million (£500,000) towards Malawi’s cholera emergency response as the country is currently experiencing its worst cholera outbreak ever recorded.

As of 29 January, the total number of cases has accelerated to over 33,608 while the total deaths stand at 1,093 deaths since its onset in March last year.

A statement from the British High Commission in Lilongwe takes cognizance that the outbreak is posing a significant threat to the already fragile health and water and sanitation systems.

Happy children displaying the cholera vaccination certificates

Together with match funding from Germany’s KfW, over K1 billion will be channelled through the Health Services Joint Fund to support the Malawi Government treat patients and contain the current outbreak, says the statement.

It adds that United Nations (UN) partners — the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF — will support the implementation of these efforts.

In addition to the UK’s contribution through the Health Services Joint Fund, the statement says the UK Government is pleased to be able to provide additional technical support to the WHO through its contribution to the Standby Partnership network.

“This technical support will deploy a water and sanitation expert to Lilongwe for 3 months, from January 2023 and the deployment of the UK Emergency Medical Team to provide hands-on expert clinical support and capacity building of local health care workers.

A cholera patient being assisted by health personnel

“The UK is also a major donor to the humanitarian Start Fund, which has also responded, providing £246,062 to support cholera work in refugee camps through the non-governmental organisation Welthungerhilfe.”

The statement further quoted Development Director Olympia Wereko-Brobby as saying: “The surge in cholera cases across Malawi is a cause for great concern. Rainy season is far from over and to prevent a significant loss of life, we must all come together and act now.

“The UK is pleased to be able to provide this support so that the Ministry of Health and our UN partners can quickly expand the high priority interventions that limit the spread and reduce cholera deaths.”

In her vote of thanks, the Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said the “outbreak is posing an unprecedented threat to lives of people and to the health system [and] he support from our longstanding development partners will enable us achieve objectives of our integrated cholera response plan to avoid further loss of life and more disruptions to education and other economic activities”.

The funding will cover priority areas such as improving management of cholera patients by providing surge capacity to cholera treatment units, establishment of community oral rehydration points, provision of urgent cholera supplies, strengthening measures to prevent spread of cholera, rapid water testing, repair and treatment of boreholes, among others.

The situation report from the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus and Cholera, indicates that as of Sunday evening, the country reported 583 new cases.

Of the new deaths, the highest was recorded in Lilongwe (7), followed by two each in Blantyre and Dedza and one each from Machinga and Thyolo.

The new cases were from 17 districts, with highest in Lilongwe (186), Balaka (91), Mangochi (84) and Blantyre (83).

All 29 health districts have reported cholera cases since the first confirmation in March last year with Mangochi as the highest at 6,579 with 110 deaths; Blantyre (5,073/170 deaths); Lilongwe (4,484/283); Salima (2,587/67); Balaka (1,920/53); Nkhata Bay (1,514/44); Nkhotakota (1,295/53); Machinga (1,363/46); Dedza (1,091/46) and Rumphi (1,047/17).

Those with three digits are Karonga (933/25); Dowa (854/21); Chiradzulu (667/28); Thyolo (590/14); Mulanje (524/25) and Mzimba North (470/2)

Cumulative confirmed cases is at 33,608 with 1,093 deaths — at case fatality rate of 3.2% — while a total of 31,428 people have recovered with 1,087 in treatment units as of Sunday evening.

On January 1, there were 366 new cases with 19 deaths; 2nd (409/25); 5th (488/18); 6th (471/13); 7th (427/13); 8th 497/17; 9th 498/12); 10th (447/15); 11th (589/17); 12th (458/17); 14th (560/14); 15th (551/16); 16th (551/16); 17th (466/11); 18th (620/20); 19th (610/18); 20th (631/17); 21st (559/11); 22nd (599/28); 24th (626/12); 25 (620/21); 26th (590/22); 27th (575/18); 28th (602/15) and 29th (583/13).

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