The deadly storm destroyed water systems, sanitation and healthcare facilities raising concerns about a possible escalation of Malawi’s deadliest cholera outbreak.
29 March 2023, Lilongwe, Malawi: Cholera and malaria remain primary concerns following the devastating storm that wreaked havoc in the southern region of Malawi displacing at least 564,239 households, 1332 injured and killing 511 people with the number expected to rise as 533 are still missing as at 25 March 2023 according to Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs. Public infrastructure has been destroyed with the road infrastructure, schools and health facilities worst affected.
The destruction, as a result of the cyclone, further weakened the inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene systems in the country thus increasing the vulnerability of families – especially women and children who have been displaced from their homes into camps. The deadly storm destroyed water systems, sanitation and healthcare facilities raising concerns about a possible upsurge in the country’s deadliest cholera outbreak. Limited mosquito nets at the shelter facilities available at the displacement camps are further exposing the families to malaria infections.
“We are worried about the current scenario since the country was already facing its worst cholera outbreak before the Cyclone Freddy experience having caused the death of at least 1,660 people since March 2022. With scores of healthcare facilities also destroyed and roads cut off, primary healthcare remains out of reach of many. The survivors are in urgent need for water treatment facilities and mosquito nets as remedies for cholera and malaria infections,” said Hester Nyasulu, Amref Country Manager in Malawi. “We are, therefore, calling for stronger collaboration among partners in handling the current health and humanitarian crisis, and we invite well-wishers and donors to offer either cash or in-kind contributions to help in addressing the health concerns of the survivors.”
Amref Health Africa has been working with the Ministry of Health in Malawi in responding to the crisis by assisting in handling the cholera case management, offering safe water and treating survivors of injuries after Cyclone Freddy’s second landfall. So far, Amref has mobilized at least $50,000 to support the response.
With additional support required, Amref Health Africa launched an Emergency Appeal seeking One million dollars to assist up to 564,239 households severely affected by the storm. Through the appeal, we look to scale up the response to the health needs such as water treatment and supply of mosquito nets as well as other medical supplies for the families displaced in the camps.
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About Amref Health Africa
Amref Health Africa, headquartered in Kenya, is the largest Africa-based international health and development organization providing training and health services to over 10 million people annually in at least 30 countries in Africa. Founded in 1957 as the Flying Doctors of East Africa to bring critical health services to remote communities, Amref Health Africa continues to evolve and innovate the approaches to increase sustainable health access among communities.
With a focus on women and young people, Amref manages a full range of medical and public health programs tackling the most critical health challenges facing the continent – including global health emergencies, communicable and non-communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases, maternal and child care, as well as water, sanitation and climate change.
Around the world, Amref is rooted in the contexts where we operate and proudly upholds our primary accountability to communities by transforming health systems to prioritize and strengthen primary healthcare (PHC) as the foundation for universal health coverage (UHC) in Africa.
Much of our credibility with local communities and African governments stems from the relationship and trust that we have built over the past 65 years. Our subsidiaries include Amref Flying Doctors, Amref Health Innovations and Amref International University.
- Deliby N. Chimbalu, Communications Manager, Amref Health Africa, Malawi, [email protected]
- Erick Achola, Global Communications Manager, Amref Health Africa, HQ: [email protected]
- Maureen Cherongis, Media Relations Officer, Amref Health Africa, HQ: [email protected]