Friday, March 1, 2024
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Malawi’s Kasungu district on high alert following neighbouring Zambia Cholera outbreak

Cholera alert

Authorities at Kasungu District Hospital have affirmed their preparedness for a potential cholera outbreak, despite the absence of reported cases in the district. Catherine Yoweli, the hospital’s Public Relations Officer, emphasized the high alert status, citing the proximity of Kasungu to Zambia, which is currently grappling with a severe cholera outbreak.

Yoweli, in an interview, highlighted the risk posed to Kasungu due to its shared boundary with Zambia, where 336 cases and 22 deaths were reported in a single day on Friday. Zambia’s cumulative cases since October 2023 stand at 4,433 with 172 deaths, prompting stringent measures such as the prohibition of street vending and delayed school openings.

Kasungu’s susceptibility to cholera is heightened by its western border with Zambia, facilitating cross-border trade activities through Chinsinga, Kachinda, and Nthunduwala. Despite the absence of reported cases, the district remains vigilant and ready to mount an effective response if an outbreak occurs.

Yoweli said: “On the prevention side, we have been distributing chlorine in communities to ensure that people are drinking safe water.

“As a district, we have also been actively involved in the Tipewe Cholera campaign through which we have been disseminating messages on prevention and control, targeting local leaders and the community at large.”

Yoweli, who is also a health promotion officer, said they have also carried out house inspections in communities checking the availability of proper sanitary facilities.

“These activities are ongoing. And we have intensified surveillance of cases so that when found, they should be treated at the earliest opportunity.

“During a similar period last year, we had recorded 15 cumulative cases. So it is encouraging that we are at zero cases this year,” she said.

 

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