UNICEF delivers lifesaving supplies to support the cholera outbreak response in Malawi
LILONGWE, 13 January 2023 – UNICEF handed over lifesaving health and water, hygiene, and sanitation supplies worth MK300 million today to support the Government of Malawi’s scale-up efforts to halt the ongoing cholera outbreak. UNICEF received support from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) to secure these supplies and chartered a special flight to bring them on time to Malawi.
The supplies include Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) kits to support health facilities and communities, high-performance tents, compound sodium lactate, doxycycline, paracetamol, and cannulas, among others.
On 12 January 2023, the Ministry of Health reported 589 new cholera cases, making the cumulative number of confirmed cases 23, 217 since March 2022, when the first case was registered. Cholera has spread across all 29 districts of Malawi, with a case fatality rate of 3.33 per cent, much higher than the global 1 per cent threshold.
"We will continue to support the Ministry of Health to scale up the cholera response. We appreciate the tireless efforts from frontline health and community workers to manage the influx of cholera cases. With 6,269 children already affected and 104 deaths, the spread of this outbreak is a threat to the health and wellbeing of children," said UNICEF Malawi’s Country Representative, Rudolf Schwenk.
The supplies arrive at a critical time after Malawi’s Office of the President and Cabinet appealed to the public and all partners to join and support the fight against cholera.
The Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo, also a co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus, mentioned in the appeal that the sought support was meant to cover gaps experienced in the prevention, control, and management of cholera cases across Malawi.
Since the outbreak was declared in March last year, UNICEF has been working closely with WHO and other partners to support the Ministry of Health with oral cholera vaccines, setting up cholera camps, providing hygiene and sanitation kits at the health facility and community level, medical supplies, and provision of safe and clean water.
On 5 December, the President of Malawi declared the cholera outbreak a public health emergency due to the surge of complex cholera cases.
Note to editors:
A total of 29 districts have reported cholera cases since the confirmation of the first case in March 2022 in Machinga district. The outbreak has been controlled in two districts. In the last 14 days, the disease has been reported in 27 districts.
As of 12 January 2023, a total of 458 new cases, 17 new deaths were reported.
The cumulative confirmed cases and deaths reported since the onset of the outbreak is 23, 217 and 773 deaths respectively, with case fatality rate at 3.33%. A total of 21, 558 people have recovered and 886 are currently in the treatment centres.
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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.