As the cholera outbreak expands, Malawi’s health ministry will shortly begin a second vaccination drive after receiving 2.9 million doses of the oral cholera vaccine.
The vaccine was purchased with assistance from the World Health Organization (WHO) thanks to funding from the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi).
According to government statistics, the outbreak, which has killed more than 200 people and infected 6,868 more since March, has already reached 27 of Malawi’s 29 districts.
“The current outbreak represents the largest epidemic reported in the country in the past 10 years,” the WHO said in a statement.
The age groups that are most impacted are those between 21 and 30. Males suffer more than females do.
“The outbreak is taking place in the context of tropical storm Ana (January 2022) and Cyclone Gombe (March 2022) which caused floods leading to the displacement of a population with low pre-existing immunity that now lacks access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene,” the WHO added.
Over 1.5 million people were protected against cholera during a previous vaccine program in May.
Although the outbreak was initially discovered in Malawi’s southern area, the north is today home to the most impacted districts.