United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Thursday handed over to the Malawi Government multi-million kwacha worth of supplies for treating and managing cholera disease.
The donated items were valued at MWK51, 800, 000.00. Malawi has this year registered unprecedented cases of cholera in 22 districts, affecting 3, 497 people and claiming 103 productive lives in the process.
Speaking after receiving the donation at the Ministry of Health Headquarters at the Capital Hill in Ilongwe, Deputy Minister of Health, Enock Phale, said the supplies had come at the right time and would help the government to implement cholera control activities.
“These supplies, especially the tents we are receiving today, are mainly for the six of the districts, which are affected by the cholera. We are happy that today we are also receiving the dignity kits for the women as these are necessary especially when women are displaced and being treated for cholera,” said Phale.
He said the government, with support from partners, has put measures and activities in place to prevent and control the outbreak.
The Deputy Minister cited the regular cholera control coordination and stakeholders’ meetings at central and district levels such as the health cluster meetings.
Explained Phale, “We have also put in place the following cholera prevention and control measures / activities, which include prompt treatment of cholera patients, surveillance on cholera is another activity. Additionally, the ministry has intensified surveillance on cholera and all diarrheal diseases. All districts are reporting on cholera, even those without cases are doing ‘zero reporting’.”
He said the ministry is also working with the media, community leaders, political and religious leaders in disseminating cholera prevention messages to the people.
At the same event, Phale disclosed that the outbreak has been controlled in four districts and that in the last 14 days, the disease has been reported in 18 districts.
He said on 28th September, 2022, a total of 50 new cases and no deaths were reported.
“The cumulative cholera cases and deaths reported since the onset of the outbreak is 3, 497 and 103 respectively. A total of 3, 302 people have recovered and 92 were/are currently in the treatment centres on 28th September. Of the affected districts, Nkhatabay reported most of the cases (723 with 19 deaths) followed by Blantyre (586 cases and 23 deaths), and then Rumphi (501 cases and 10 deaths),” said Phale.
The Deputy Minister said most of the deaths occurred while in the communities or at health facilities after presenting at the facilities late for treatment.
In her remarks, UNFPA Officer in Charge in Malawi, Miranda Tabifor, expressed her agency’s commitment to stand in solidarity with the Government of Malawi and other partners in efforts to defeat the outbreak.
Tabifor commended the robust efforts by the Government of Malawi in ensuring that effective response measures are put in place and implemented through the various clusters and established mechanisms.
“I wish to reiterate UNFPA’s and indeed the entire UN family’s, commitment to this partnership with the Government to ensure Malawi emerges victorious and defeats this virulent outbreak. As UNFPA, we are working in collaboration with our UN Partners under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator, NGOs and government implementing partners towards the response of this,” she said.
She observed that limited resources pose a serious challenge for women and girls especially those pregnant to be considered and be designated the safe spaces.
Tabifor therefore expressed optimism that the tents they donated will enable the ministry to establish clear screening, isolation, treatment, for suspected and confirmed cases identified in triage.
“We believe that designated treatment centers with obstetric capacity need to be identified where lifesaving treatment (in case of imminent delivery, need for post abortion care) while awaiting referral and transfer regardless of severity of the cases can be offered. At the same time, we are also supporting with dignity kits, which contains washing and bathing soap, a cloth and a pail which will ensure proper hygiene and storage of safe drinking water by the women.
“At the moment, we are targeting the 6-districts that are severely affected based on the data shared with the emergency response team within the Ministry of health. These items were bought targeting Blantyre, Nkhotakota, Chikwawa, Rumphi, Nsanje and Karonga,” she said.
Tabifor assured the ministry that UNFPA will continue fundraising and supporting the government to ensure adequate resources to provide care to our clients; especially maternity care as well as protecting health workers.
Meanwhile, Phale has reminded Malawians to go to the hospital early if they develop cholera or if they are suffering from any other disease, emphasizing that medical supplies for treatment of cholera are available in all health facilities in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :