Since March 2022, Malawi has been facing a terrible cholera epidemic. This, still in progress, has killed more than 1,000 people, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday, lamenting a lack of vaccines.
The death toll reached 1,002 on Tuesday, making the current cholera outbreak the deadliest on record in the impoverished southern African country, which previously saw 968 deaths in 2001-2002, according to the World Health Organization. (WHO). A total of 30,600 people have been infected since the first cases appeared last year.
Tough competition to get the vaccine
By November, Malawi had received nearly three million doses of oral vaccine from the UN. But “we used all the vaccines we had,” said health ministry spokesman Adrian Chikumbe. “The fact that there is only one cholera vaccine manufacturer in the world makes it difficult to acquire the drug,” he added, because “we are competing for the same vaccine with everyone “.
Part of the Malawian population also refuses treatment in the name of religious beliefs, which contributes to the spread of the disease.
Climate change, an aggravating factor
In September, the WHO reported a “worrying resurgence” of cholera around the world, after years of decline, with climate change adding to the usual factors such as poverty and conflict. The disease affects between 1.3 million and 4 million people on the planet every year, causing up to 143,000 deaths.
Cholera is contracted by ingesting water or food contaminated with bacteria. It usually causes diarrhea and vomiting and can be very dangerous for young children.