As a result of a cholera outbreak in Malawi, the country has run out of vaccines, which the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday. More than 1,000 people have died as a result of the outbreak. More than 30,600 individuals have been sick with cholera in the southern African country since the first cases of the disease were detected one year ago. This is the greatest outbreak of cholera that the country has ever seen.
Even though the United Nations gave it almost 3 million doses of oral cholera vaccine in November as part of an effort to boost its immunization program, the number of reported cases has continued to rise.
Adrian Chikumbe, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told AFP that all of the available vaccines had been administered. According to Chikumbe, the fact that there is only one cholera vaccine manufacturer in the entire world makes it impossible to acquire the potentially life-saving medicine. “We are competing with everyone else for the same vaccine,” the doctor said.
According to the World Health Organization, the number of fatalities hit 1,002 on Tuesday (January 23), surpassing both a tragic milestone and the previous record for the greatest outbreak, which occurred between 2001 and 2002 and resulted in the deaths of 968 individuals (WHO). Cholera is an illness that is caused by a bacteria that is usually spread by eating or drinking something that is tainted. This illness can also induce vomiting.
Chikumbe stated that what is necessary is a high level of compliance with regards to cleanliness and sanitation. Myths and false information that are circulating on the internet were the source of the crisis, according to George Jobe, director of the non-profit Malawi Health Equity Network. He told AFP that the majority of people do not think that they have cholera.
When the outbreak began about a year ago, officials were apparently caught off guard, according to critics. According to Storm Kabuluzi, who is in charge of preventive health services, the government and humanitarian organizations are currently trying to provide safe water and facilities for hand washing. However, he placed blame on certain social groups for contributing to the spread of the disease. He stated that there are some faiths that do not allow their adherents to visit a medical facility in the event that they are ill.
After years of decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning in September that the world was experiencing a “worrying uptick” in the number of cholera outbreaks, with climate change adding to classic drivers such as poverty and violence.
Even if Malawi is the epicenter of the cholera outbreak in Africa, the disease is on the rise worldwide. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, stated at the beginning of January that 31 nations had reported cholera outbreaks since December, which is a 50% increase above the amount recorded in prior years. Each year, the disease affects somewhere between 1.3 million and four million people all over the world and is responsible for as many as 143,000 fatalities.