Cholera has claimed the life of nearly 24 hungry Malawians, and infected thousands of others who are forced to eat contaminated food out of hunger and desperation. The Mangochi resort district and Blantyre (commercial hub of Eastern Africa) are the worst affected.
The drought that occurred previous year and the subsequent food shortage has been accounted for the situation now prevalent in Malawi. More than 12 million people in Malawi, especially those in the Southern Province are believed to suffer from this food scarcity.
The health officials feel that the tendency of people to rush for food and eating it without washing their hands could be one of the main reasons for the observed increase in the number of cholera cases. It is much higher than that recorded the same month the previous year.
The Malawi Government is currently working in close association with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) towards the establishment of ambulatory clinics in the affected districts. Drugs have already been sent to manage the crisis. Most of the people who are afflicted by cholera confine themselves to their home and fail to report to the health authorities in time. This leads to a large number of cholera-associated mortalities.
Cholera is commonly spread through consumption of fecal contaminated food or water. Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration are seen in affected patients. If left untreated, it can even turn out to be fatal. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is the key to successful cholera management. The health authorities have urged the villagers to report any such symptoms at the earliest to enable immediate medical attention and treatment.