The European Union (EU) has come to Malawi’s rescue through a commitment of about K100 million (€100 000) in humanitarian funding to support the fight against a cholera outbreak in the country.
A press release from the EU indicates the funding will support the Malawi Red Cross society (MRCS) in delivering assistance to prevent and control the spread of the outbreak in the four risk districts of Nkhatabay, Nkhotakota, Karonga and Mzuzu.
MRCS will deploy an intervention team of volunteers to monitor the disease through active case finding and strengthening the community’s capacity to identify and refer cholera cases to health centres.
A team of Red Cross volunteers will also run a risk communication campaign at the community level and through mass media in the high-risk districts, promoting proper hygiene and sanitation behaviour for prevention of cholera.
This will include supporting the transmission of health and prevention-related information on local radio stations.
“This EU funding will also support training of volunteers to give oral rehydration therapy as well as setting up tents for use in the isolation of cholera patients. It will also be used to buy materials to support case management, including gloves, facemasks, chlorine for water treatment in homes, gumboots and oral rehydration salts. The funds will also be used to rehabilitate and upgrade water points and systems in the four affected districts.
“This project will run for four months and is designed to reach over 753,000 people in the four targeted districts of Nkhatabay, Nkhotakota, Karonga and Mzuzu. The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)”. reads the statement.
Since the cholera outbreak was declared in March 2022 in the southern part of the country, it has spread to the northern and central regions and new cases continue to be registered in different parts of the country.
The current outbreak is described as the worst in Malawi in years with 22 out of 28 districts having reported cholera cases since the confirmation of the first case in March.
As of 27th September 2022, the disease has claimed 103 lives and the cumulative confirmed cases reported are 3,446.
A total of 3,258 people have recovered and 85 are currently admitted in treatment centres.