The Ministry of Health has declared Karonga District cholera-free after it has gone 21 days without registering a new case.
Confirming the news in an interview, the ministry’s spokesperson Joshua Malango said the district yesterday passed a 21-day index as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He said: “Yes, we haven’t registered new cholera cases in Karonga for 21 days and, according to recommendations by WHO, this automatically means it is cholera-free.”
This rainy season, seven deaths were recorded in Karonga with 347 cases reported. Lilongwe is the hardest-hit district after registering 18 deaths and 352 cases.
Latest updates indicate that 30 people have died of cholera nationwide since the onset of the outbreak last November with 893 cases recorded.
Three new cholera cases have been recorded at Nathenje and Bwaila health centres in Lilongwe, bringing the number of those in treatment centres, which so far remain only in Lilongwe, to five.
Commenting on the issue, Malawi Redcross Society (MRCS) communications manager Felix Washoni attributed the success story to joint efforts by different players who supported government with different cholera mitigation interventions.
He said behaviour change communication through community engagement, door- to-door visits and general hygiene promotion messages contributed to winning the battle against the outbreak.
But according to Washoni, many lessons have been learnt from this season’s outbreak, including the need to continue cholera interventions throughout the year, involve community leaders to break some norms and social behaviours and make chlorine and oral rehydration salts (ORS) available in all health centres where they can be accessed with ease at all times.
The outbreak was registered in 13 districts of Karonga, Lilongwe, Salima, Dedza, Nkhata Bay, Likoma Island; Rumphi; Nsanje, Dowa, Mulanje, Kasungu, Chikwawa and Blantyre.
Early last month, the Ministry of Health declared Mulanje, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Nkhata Bay and Kasungu districts cholera-free after not registering new cases in over two weeks.