By Eunice Disi
Lilongwe, March 9, MANA: Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has emphasized on the importance of collaboration of African countries in the fight against Cholera.
She made the remarks on Thursday during the opening of a two-day high- level emergency ministerial meeting on Cholera epidemic and Climate-related public health emergencies which is being held in Lilongwe.
“Malawi is not the only country that has been affected by Cholera, other neighboring countries have been affected as well,
As such we thought it necessary to hold this Ministerial meeting in order to discuss on what is being done to eliminate the disease, because cholera does not know borders. About 12 countries in Africa have been affected,” She said.
The Minister also added that some of the public health emergencies are there due to adverse effects of climate change such as cyclones, drought, floods and other saying these have contributed to the spread of cholera hence the need for African countries to come together to discuss the issues.
“We need to work together as a continent to share experiences to see what it is that has worked. Other countries have eliminated cholera and as such, we have to learn from them and share our Malawian experience,” she said.
Commenting separately, Regional Advisor for Health Security and International Health Regulations, Unit Lead for Health Security Preparedness (HSP) at World Health Organisation for African Region, Ambrose Otau Talisuna applauded Malawi government for hosting the high-level ministerial meeting which will harmonise the interventions of countries within SADC in fighting cholera.
“At the moment we have 12 countries that have been hit by Cholera outbreak but the outbreak we are seeing in Malawi is so far the largest. It is related to issues of climate change and cross boarder movements,
We believe this meeting is important and we thank the leadership of Malawi for hosting this meeting,” he said.
He further called for the need to revitalise cholera prevention and control in Africa citing that Cholera is one reflection of failures in water hygiene and sanitation; one of the key areas that needs focus.
The meeting is being held with the support from African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Union and World Health Organisation (WHO) through the ministries responsible for health, sanitation and climate change in various countries attending the meeting.
It has brought together 14 African countries and other iInternational organisations like, World Health Organization, UNICEF, Africa Centre for Disease control (CDC ) and African Union.
According to a report from World health Organisation, Africa has recorded a total of 130,000 cases with Malawi as one of the African countries that has registered the highest cases of Cholera at 51,287 and 1605 deaths followed by Cameroon at 15,275 cases.