Malawi hosts meeting to discuss cholera outbreak mitigation

Thursday March 09 2023
Cholera patient in Malawi

A relative sit next to a patient that is being treated in a temporary cholera centre in area 25 Health Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi on February 20, 2023. The southern African nation has been battling its worst cholera outbreak on record, with nearly 51,855 cases reported since March 2022. PHOTO | FREDRIK LERNERYD | AFP


The United Nations (UN) on Tuesday said Malawi’s deadly cholera outbreak could worsen if Tropical Cyclone Freddy triggers further heavy rainfall in the south of the country.

The southern African country has so far recorded 1,616 deaths and 51,855 cases of cholera since the outbreak in March 2022, affecting all of its 29 districts.

Malawi is facing the deadliest cholera outbreak in two decades, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) also reported cholera cases in other countries such as Burundi, Cameron, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia.

Read: Burundi declares cholera outbreak in Bujumbura

Globally, Haitians, Indians, Pakistanis, Philippines and Syrians among others, are also affected by outbreak.

“Malawi is currently experiencing the deadliest cholera outbreak in its recorded history, and it is also struggling to respond to an earlier outbreak and ongoing Covid-19 cases,” Rudolf Schwenk, the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) Malawi representative said on Tuesday.


Last month, the WHO said a global surge of cholera cases has put one billion people in 43 countries at risk.

Fight against cholera

Malawi will between March 9-10 host a high-level emergency ministerial meeting for countries affected by cholera, those at risk, relevant regional economic communities and partners. The meeting is being held at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe, the country’s government confirmed.

The meeting will be attended by international organisations, bilateral and multilateral partners as well as ministers of health, water and sanitation from 14 countries within the African region.

“With the support of the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) and the WHO, this high-level meeting aims [to enable] countries to share information on the cholera outbreak and essential response techniques,” Malawi’s Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda said in a statement.

Read: Congolese doctor picked to head Africa CDC

“As we live in a global village, the fight against cholera outbreak requires good collaboration and coordination among African member states. Together we will win this war against cholera and other emerging and re-emerging diseases,” Chiponda said.

She added that the meeting also aims at discussing preparedness and align on cross border coordination mechanisms to rapidly respond to the current cholera outbreak as well as any other health emergencies.

The meeting is also to facilitate the establishment of the Africa Elimination of Cholera Epidemics Coordination Task Force championed by Zambian President Hakainde Hachilema, the current cholera elimination champion.

The member states will also produce road maps related to cholera, other emerging and re-emerging diseases of regional concern including climate-related emergencies.