Ministry of Health to Administer 250,000 Cholera Vaccines in Lower Shire
By Franklin Mtambalika
The ministry of health has secured an approval by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Cholera to administer 250,000 cholera doses in the districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje with special focus on hotspot areas.
The ministry’s spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe has told Zodiak in an interview on Monday that preparations are at an advanced stage for the five-day campaign, which commences on 28th August 2023.
“We have at least 250,000 cholera vaccines, to administer in the two districts, in areas where cholera cases are still being reported,” said Chikumbe.
He said government has high hopes all doses will be absorbed in the targeted areas which were hard-hit by Cyclone Freddy.
He adds that now people have realized the importance of getting the vaccine in preventing the disease.
Chikumbe emphasized that the interventions will then later be spread to other districts.
A public health expert Sandra Mapemba has commended the government for prioritizing areas which were affected by Cyclone Freddy.
She says access to clean and portable water remains a challenge in those areas.
“This is a welcome development, considering the fact that these areas have experienced perennial flooding, and stagnation of water and access to portable water has become an issue. This has left a lot of communities more vulnerable to a wide range of diseases including cholera,” she said.
Although the cholera situation has been controlled in the country, the ministry of health says a lot of work needs to be done, especially in three districts of Mangochi, Zomba and Chikwawa, where sporadic cases of cholera are being reported.
The cholera vaccine is a complementary intervention, and the main strategies for cholera control remain ensuring good hygiene practices, using safe water, food hygiene, regular hand washing with soap and no open defecation.
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