Lilongwe — Government has commended health workers for their dedication and hard work in ensuring that the cholera outbreak in Karonga is contained.
Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi said this when he visited Karonga district this week to appreciate the cholera outbreak situation.
Muluzi said he is pleased with the Karonga District Health workers in the way they have responded to the outbreak despite the conditions they are working in which he said has enabled them to report two deaths out of 88 cases.
He urged chiefs and religious leaders to join hands in sensitizing their subjects on the need to practice hygiene practices by having descent toilets to prevent further cholera cases during this rainy season.
"Communities should prevent the spread of the outbreak to ease the number of affected people by washing hands before preparing food, breastfeeding, changing babies' nappies as well as visiting the toilet," said Muluzi.
He appealed to the communities to avoid taking raw food and to use safe clean water at all times to prevent the spread of the outbreak in the area.
He said his ministry has received reports that only two people have been reported dead and that 88 cases were being treated for suspected cholera symptoms at Karonga district hospital and that there is need to prevent the risk of flood waters picking faeces which contaminates the water system.
"Across the country my ministry has been working to combat the impact of cholera and we are working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development to improve the provision of safe drinking water to all Malawians," stressed Muluzi.
The minister appealed to nongovernmental organisations to emulate what Red Cross Malawi and other well wishers were doing to provide materials to help the cholera victims who were affected by the outbreak.
According to Karonga Acting district health officer, Phinias Mfune the outbreak has occurred due to the fact that most villages were drinking unprotected water which is contaminated.
He observed that the communities in the areas have been fetching water from contaminated sources since some of the boreholes are not functional hence the cholera cases.
"People are forced to drink unprotected water in the area and most communities do not have access to proper toilets hence exposing themselves to waterborne diseases," said Mfune.
Mfune attributed the coming out of the disease to poor hygiene and lack of safe clean water which has resulted to the death of the two people.
"Currently, we are facing challenges of inadequate protective wear like gloves, aprons, gumboots, fuel for surveillance and distribution of drugs and inadequate patients' beds in isolation tents," observed Mfune.
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with Malawi Red Cross has donated some food items and materials to help the people who have been affected by the outbreak.
Reports from Karonga District Council indicate that since the beginning of the disease last month two people have died from Kaporo and Nyungwe health centres and 88 cases have been registered.
78 percent of households in Karonga which has a population of 359,080 people, have toilets while 80 percent have access to safe drinking water.