Taskforce calls for vigilance over cholera, COVID-19

The Presidential Taskforce on coronavirus and cholera has called upon people in the country to maintain vigilance to prevent resurgence of new cholera cases.

The warning comes amid potential threat from cross border transmission, following reports of severe cholera outbreaks going on in some of the neighbouring countries like in Zambia.

According to a statement issued by the Taskforce`s co-chairperson Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda between November 1, 2023, to January 14, 2024, a total of 49 laboratory confirmed cholera cases and 2 deaths have been reported from 10 health districts across the country.

She said: “Since June 2023, three months after the Tithetse Cholera Campaign, the country has been reporting very few, and sporadic new cases of cholera, and hardly any deaths.

“This compares to 11,052 laboratory confirmed cases, including 374 deaths, reported over the same period of time in 2022.”

Chiponda added that while the statistics show a significant decline in the number of cases and deaths reported compared to the previous season, the continuing sporadic cases indicate that there are still some pockets of infection and transmission in some hotspot districts and areas within districts.

The co-chairperson has since called upon people to observe strict water and food hygiene practices, and other preventive measures to prevent spread of the disease.

“Relevant Ministries, Districts Authorities and collaborating Local and International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Partners are called upon to join hands to sustain actions to address known key risk factors, especially use of unsafe water, poor food hygiene and inadequate sanitation, and to ensure early identification, reporting and proper management of cases at community and health facility levels,” pleaded Chiponda.

In addition, Chiponda has disclosed that few sporadic COVID-19 cases continued to be reported in some districts, but the country has currently no case admitted neither death reported.

She has since advised the public that there is no cause for alarm because of the recently reported cases.

“The recent (first two weeks of January 2024) been the six COVID-19 cases that were reported from one health facility in Nsanje District (Kalemba Community Hospital).

“Three of these recently COVID-19 cases were among members of the same family, the fourth was a work contact of the first case while the other two were from the surrounding community,” disclosed Chiponda.

However, despite the low numbers, Chiponda said it is an indication that COVID-19 cases still exist, even beyond Malawi’s borders.

The Taskforce has since advised people to follow recommended preventive measures, like frequent washing of hands and use of sanitizers, avoiding crowded places and use of face masks.

Since May 2023, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), few sporadic COVID-19 cases continued to be reported in some districts.

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