Cholera death toll at 20
The cholera death toll reported in 14 districts is now at 20 with the number of cumulative cases at 722, according to a recent update by the Ministry of Health (MoH).
This means that three more deaths and 29 new cases have been recorded since Sunday, when the death toll was at 17 and number of accumulative cases at 693.
But commenting on the matter, MoH spokesperson Joshua Malango said the number of cases are reducing.
“These figures mean the cases are slowly going down and we are hoping it will go on like this and in the coming weeks, we can ably say the outbreak is gone,” he said.
Malango added that one new case was reported at Mua Mission Hospital in Dedza while another one was reported in Lilongwe yesterday.
Last week, MoH blamed some communities for their superstitious beliefs that cholera is caused by witchcraft, adding some patients die because relatives waste time giving them traditional medicine instead of rushing to the hospital.
As yesterday, Karonga still had the highest number of cases at 331 and seven deaths, followed by Lilongwe with eight deaths and 223 cases.
Salima has so far recorded 78 cases and four deaths, Dedza has 28 cases and one death; Nkhata Bay has 20 cases, Likoma Island has 13; Rumphi has 11; Nsanje has six; Dowa has five; Mulanje has four; while Kasungu, Chikwawa, Blantyre have registered one case each.
However, in Salima, all four recorded deaths occurred within the communities.
As of last week, the ministry was giving cholera vaccines in Karonga and Rumphi only, while Lilongwe communities were yet to start receiving the vaccines.
According to Malango, they are waiting for a second consignment of vaccines which will serve other districts where the cholera cases are increasing.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is urging people to rush patients with cholera signs such as diarrhoea and vomiting to hospital.
Despite the ministry saying it is doing its best to control the outbreak, the Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) is on record as having asked government to increase its efforts in combating the outbreak other than blaming it on people.
The first cholera case was reported last November in Karonga after two businesspersons were infected in neighbouring Tanzania where there is also an outbreak.