Ministry to give out cholera vaccine in Chikwawa

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    The Ministry of Health (MoH) has said it will from next week start administering cholera vaccine in Chikwawa to contain an outbreak which has so far affected 38 people.

    So far, no death has been reported as a result of the outbreak which resurfaced in the district on August 10 this year.

    Among the cases, three were reported at Chikwawa Secondary School last week.

    Speaking in an interview Thursday, MoH spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said about 200 000 people from areas around Chikwawa boma, Ngabu and Nchalo are being targeted in the vaccine campaign.

    He further said among those attacked, 36 have been treated while two are still in an isolation camp at the district hospital.

    Chikumbe attributed the spread of the outbreak to poor hygiene.

    He said: “Cholera comes anytime whether in rainy season or not as long as hygiene and sanitation is compromised.

    “Most water sources in the affected areas have broken down forcing people into using unsafe water from rivers such as Shire. However we have intensified sensitization campaigns aimed at promoting high levels of sanitation and hygiene among the communities so that we deal with the outbreak.”

    He said the ministry is also making sure that all medical facilities are equipped with enough drugs and that chlorine is in adequate supply for treatment of water in local communities.

    “Aside from that, the ministry is also conducting refresher training for medical staff in the district to equip them with skills on how to deal with the outbreak,” he added.

    According to Chikumbe, the ministry is also on alert to contain the outbreak across the country as the rainy season approaches.

    Head teacher for Chikwawa Secondary School Flora Kaphanthenga said the three students have now been discharged from the hospital and one has returned to school while the rest are still in their respective homes.

    “The outbreak was brought in by a form one student from one of the affected areas who came in last week. The other two are her friends who were handling her when she just fell sick.

    “However there is no cause for alarm as the outbreak has been controlled now and classrooms are going on smoothly,” said Kaphanthenga.

    The first outbreak in the 2016/2017 season was reported in Nsanje in March attacking 14 people. It is said to have emanated from Mozambique.

    Five months ago 38 people were affected with cholera in two villages in the area of Paramount Chief Lundu in Chikwawa.

    Last season the ministry gave cholera vaccine to about 70 thousand people in all cholera prone areas including Phalombe and Machinga. The vaccine protects people from attacks of cholera for a period of five years.

    The outbreak from December 2015 to September 2016 claimed 58 lives with 1786 cases recorded.

    Original Article

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