Malawi to vaccinate more than 1.9 million people against cholera

25 May 2022

Lilongwe- Malawi this week kicked off a cholera vaccination campaign targeting more than 1.9 million people aged one year and above following an outbreak that started in March in which over 380 cases and 17 deaths have been recorded to date.

The health authorities, with support from World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, will carry out the two-round campaign in eight cholera hotspot districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe, Mulanje, Blantyre, Machinga, Mangochi and Balaka. The first round that started on 23May will be followed by a second two to six weeks later. OCV act as a bridge between emergency response and longer-term cholera control which focuses on provision of safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). Malawi has received a total of 3.9 million doses of oral cholera vaccines from the Global stockpile funded by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoea infection caused by eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It is a serious disease that can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea with severe dehydration. Cholera affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if untreated. Recommended cholera disease prevention and control measures include the provision of safe drinking water and proper sanitation to at-risk populations and timely and appropriate healthcare for those with clinical disease.

“I am ready to do whatever it takes to protect myself and my household from cholera including getting the oral choler vaccine. Early this year, my wife and child suffered from cholera and I know how dangerous it is, said Francis Sayenda a resident of Chikwawa district.

Cholera contributes substantially to the disease burden in Malawi and is endemic with cases confirmed almost every year. WHO is committed to supporting the government of Malawi for a successful implementation of this campaign and ensure that the current cholera outbreak is quickly brought under control.