No Extra Cholera Vaccine for Malawi - WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Malawi should not anticipate to receive additional oral cholera vaccine doses it requested any time soon as the global health organization does not have enough stocks.
Earlier this year, Malawi asked for a donation of 7.6 million doses of cholera vaccine from the WHO after the ministry of health’s announcement that it had finished all the 2.9 million doses it received from the United Nations in November 2022.
In an interview with Zodiak on the sidelines of the High-Level Emergency Ministerial Meeting on Cholera Epidemics and Climate-Related Public Emergencies on Friday in Lilongwe, WHO Programme Area Manager responsible for Emergency Response in Africa, Dr. Fiona Braka said due to limited stocks they are not giving out the doses to countries that have already benefited.
Said Dr. Braka, “The supply still remains very restricted and unfortunately now we are not able to take on more countries getting more doses until the supply comes up.”
She further said the development has forced WHO to resort to a sparing policy in terms of vaccinating people.
“Globally we do not have adequate vaccines in stock and because of this in October last year we introduced a sparing policy where instead of getting two doses we have reduced it to one dose so that we should cover more people,” she disclosed.
However, Dr Braka said Malawi is better off as a significant number of people have received one dose of the oral cholera vaccine.
She called for more sensitization of the masses on cholera preventive measures and provision of safe water to deal with the outbreak.
Recently, minister of health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda told journalists that they are still waiting for additional doses from WHO.
For a year now, Malawi has been grappling with the worst cholera outbreak in years which has claimed more than 1600 lives.
The country, according to WHO, is the worst hit of the 12 countries in Africa.
Health authorities from 14 countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have been meeting in the last two days in Lilongwe to discuss ways of dealing with the outbreak.