Malawi’s Government Announces Delay In Reopening Of Schools Amid Cholera Outbreak
Malawi’s health minister on Monday announced the government has decided to delay the opening of public schools in the country’s two major cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe, in a bid to slow down a surge in the number of cholera deaths, reported The Africa News.
According to the Health Ministry data, 17,824 cholera cases and 595 deaths have been reported since the first cases were first reported in March, 2022, with the mortality rate increasing to 3.34 percent.
Every year, Cholera cases are reported during Malawi’s rainy months which begins from November and continues until March, when the number of deaths is around 100 a year.
“Due to the continuing increase of cholera cases and deaths in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe, primary and secondary schools in the two cities will not start on January 3 as earlier advised,” Malawi’s Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda said in a statement.
The health minister said that the decision to delay the reopening of schools was taken solely in the interest of the safety of the children.
She said that the reopening of schools after the Christmas holidays have been delayed for at least two weeks and that a new reopening date will be announced once the situation comes under control.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cholera fatality rates have been on a rise in about 30 countries that reported cholera outbreaks in 2022, which is about a third higher than the fatality rate reported in any typical year.
Cholera is spread by contaminated food or water and can cause acute diarrhoea. Many people have mild symptoms but it can kill within hours if untreated.
The cholera outbreak has spread to Malawi’s 28 districts.
The health minister called on the authorities to take necessary control measures, which includes spraying chlorine to disinfect crowded places such as markets and schools and increasing inoculations.