Malawi Cholera Vaccines Run Out, Death Toll Soar

Malawi Cholera Vaccines Run Out, Deaths Climb (News Central TV)

The Health Ministry reported on Tuesday that a cholera outbreak in Malawi has claimed more than 1,000 lives as the nation has run short of vaccines.

“We have used all the vaccines we had,” Health Ministry spokesman Adrian Chikumbe told newsmen.

“The fact that there is only one cholera vaccine manufacturer worldwide makes it difficult to acquire the life-saving drug,” said Chikumbe. “We are competing for the same vaccine with everyone else.”

Since the first cases were reported last year, the country of southern Africa has been battling its deadliest cholera outbreak on record, with more than 30,600 people afflicted.

In order to expand its immunisation program, it got over 3 million doses of oral cholera vaccine from the UN in November, but the incidence of the disease is still on the rise.

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“What we need is high compliance to hygiene and sanitation,” Chikumbe said.

George Jobe, director of the non-profit Malawi Health Equity Network, blamed myths and misinformation spreading online for the dire situation.

George Jobe

“Most people don’t believe we have cholera,” he told reporters.

Critics claim that when the outbreak started about a year ago, officials were unprepared. Storm Kabuluzi, director of preventive health services, stated that the government and humanitarian organisations were trying to provide facilities for safe water and hand washing. He nevertheless attributed some social groups with promoting the disease’s spread.

“We have some religions that do not permit their members to go to the hospital,” when ill, he said.

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According to the World Health Organisation, the death toll rose to 1,002 on Tuesday, surpassing a somber milestone and the deadliest outbreak to date, which claimed 968 lives between 2001 and 2002.

Cholera is a bacterial infection that typically spreads through contaminated food or water and results in vomiting and diarrhea.

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