Malawi has appealed for humanitarian assistance to deal with a cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 700 lives over the past 10 months.In a statement late Monday, the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus and Cholera appealed to the private sector and other organisations to assist with medical supplies and other equipment required in the fight against cholera.
“Through the Office of the President & Cabinet, the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus and Cholera is appealing to the public, private corporate companies and organizations for support in the fight against nationwide cholera outbreak,” Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda and her taskforce co-chairperson Wilfred Nkhoma said.
They added: “The support can be in form of donations that are expected to cover various gaps currently being experienced in the prevention, control and management of the cases across the country.”
In addition to cash, the taskforce is looking for donations of medical supplies such as cholera beds, tents, examination and heavy duty gloves, gumboots, solar lamps, buckets with taps, aprons, soap and chlorine oral rehydration salts as well as the renovation or construction of sanitary facilities at schools.
Official data shows that the cholera outbreak had, as of January 8, claimed some 704 lives out of more than 21,000 infections recorded since March 2022 when the first cases were reported.
The humanitarian appeal was necessitated by fears that the outbreak could be getting out of hand since 109 of the fatalities to date have occurred in the first eight days of January alone.
The worsening outbreak has prompted President Lazarus Chakwera’s government to suspend the start of the 2023 academic year for schools in the capital Lilongwe and the second city Blantyre.
While schools in other parts of Malawi opened on January 3, those in the two main cities have had the commencement of their academic year postponement indefinitely.