MALAWI – Malawi government has asked for a donation of 7.6 million doses of cholera vaccine from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Ministry of Health announced that it had used all the 2.9 million cholera vaccines it had in all health facilities in the country.
In November 2022, Malawi received nearly three million doses of oral cholera vaccine from the United Nations to step up its immunisation campaign but case numbers continue to rise.
As the country continues to grapple with the outbreak, more doses of the vaccine are needed and Public Relations Officer for the ministry, Adrian Chikumbe, has confirmed to the local media that Malawi has asked for the donation.
“We have asked the World Health Organisation to help us with the vaccine and this time we have asked for 7.6 million doses. We cannot say when the doses will arrive in the country, but we know that many countries have also asked for the same,” explained Chikumbe.
Meanwhile, Presidential Advisor on Religious Affairs, Reverend Brian Kamwendo, has condemned the tendency by some religious leaders of deterring their followers from receiving medical treatment and vaccines.
Kamwendo was speaking at a preparatory meeting for a crusade that will take place in June this year and he added that what such religious leaders are doing is against God’s will.
“It’s unfortunate that some religious leaders are denying their followers access to medical treatment as well as vaccines during this crucial time when we have cholera outbreak amongst us,” said Pastor Kamwendo.
“We thank God that up to now, the country’s presidency has not yet reached a point of banning such churches as is the case in other countries. We are strongly saying on behalf of government that what those leaders are doing is ungodly and that is poor leadership. Religious leaders have a role to ensure good health for their followers.”
One of the organisers of the crusade, Bishop Andrew Mankhanamba, said they will continue to encourage religious leaders to give messages of hope to their followers.
“There is need for awareness. Besides our usual areas of preaching, there is need to give out messages of hope in times like these. Outbreaks come and go,” said Bishop Mankhanamba.
Malawi’s worst cholera outbreak on record has left more than 1,000 people dead even as cases have reached 30,621, health minister Khumbize Chiponda has said.
The death toll breached a grim milestone and surpassed the largest recorded outbreak, which killed 968 people between 2001 and 2002, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Most of the deaths occurred in the two main cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre where children have recently gone back to class after schools delayed opening to try and contain the spread.