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Cholera Outbreak in Malawi
Cholera remains a global threat to public health. And an indicator of inequity. Since March this year, Malawi has been experiencing one of the worst cholera outbreaks in years. The disease has affected over 22 districts since March 2022. On Tuesday, October 21st, Kasese’s neighboring community, Nyagala, registered its first case of cholera. This puts Orant’s community at risk of contracting the disease.
What is cholera?
An acute diarrheal infection. The cause? Vibrio cholerae. A type of bacterium that can contaminate food or water. After a person ingests something contaminated, they show symptoms between 12 hours and 5 days. If untreated, cholera can kill within hours.
What are the signs and symptoms of cholera?
Watery diarrhea and vomiting. Next up: severe dehydration.
According to the World Health Organization, most people infected with V. cholerae don’t develop symptoms. Nonetheless, the bacteria are present in their feces for 1-10 days of infection. If the bacteria are shed back into the environment, they can infect others.
- Fecal contamination of drinking water
- Uncooked food made with contaminated water
- Cooking and eating utensils washed in contaminated water
- Food contaminated during or after cooking and that remains at room temperature for several hours
How does one prevent cholera?
What is Orant doing?
Orant’s Kasese Health Center is prepared to treat any cholera cases in our community. Patients must wash their hands before entering and leaving the healthcare facility. We have also distributed chlorine for people to treat their drinking water.
“We are working hard to put all the necessary measures in place,” says clinical officer Wilson Bett. “We want to make sure the disease is contained and the community is safe. We are working with Health Surveillance Assistants, chiefs, and various committees to sensitize communities. And we continue to drill boreholes to provide clean water.”
Group Village Head Chhauma from T/A Mwase in Kasungu says, “Cholera is more deadly than HIV/AIDS. Our nearby villages have already been infected. As a chief, together with my fellow leaders, we are working hard to sensitize our communities so that our people are safe.”
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