"Most of the deaths occurred because patients showed up late for treatment," the Health Ministry lamented. Since the outbreak began, health authorities have registered over 30,620 cholera cases, 626 of which were detected this week.
The cholera disease, which is spread by ingesting food or water contaminated by the vibrio cholera bacteria and causes severe diarrhea, is endemic in this African country. Most contagions occur during the rainy season, which runs from December to March.
“During 2022, the disease spread in an unprecedented way throughout the country, even during the dry season,” said Marion Pechayre, head of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) mission to Malawi.
She stressed that this outbreak is mainly due to the shortages in drinking water supply after the 2022 Ana and Gombe cyclons passage and persistent problems in medical equipment supply.
Been speaking to repair technicians in Northern Malawi about their experiences repairing off-grid solar systems. This bulb came on just as we walked in to this shop, signalling the return of grid-based power after a 6 hour outage. pic.twitter.com/3kUdiES9ky
"In the Mtosa village health center, we have no intravenous drip, and there is very little oral serum left. A cholera patient of ours died yesterday," medical assistant Emmanuel Chipokodzi regrets, stressing that cholera contagions in the hospital have risen due to the lack of specific latrines for this disease’s patients.
The global limitation of vaccines also prompts cholera cases to increase in Malawi. In Oct. 2022, the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision announced that it will temporarily provide only one out of the two doses of the cholera vaccines due to the lack of resources.
"With the inoculation of two doses, the patient has immunity of about 80 percent between three to five years. With only one dose, however, immunity to the disease only lasts for six months up to two years with an effectiveness of about 50 percent," Pechayre insisted, describing this situation as desperate.
Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera at the High-Level Plenary Meeting to promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: “Our world, free of nuclear weapons, looks like a dream.” pic.twitter.com/tM9H3WOakH