UK-Med responds to emergency call for assistance after Cholera outbreak in Malawi

Our Emergency Medical Team has flown to Malawi to provide assistance to the Malawi Ministry of Health, after a major cholera outbreak. One of the poorest countries in the world, the healthcare system in Malawi needs extra support to increase capacity as cases rise. 

Health professionals are concerned about the impact cyclone season will have on the outbreak. There is a significant risk that the next two months could bring extreme weather, leading to destruction of health infrastructure and large numbers of displaced people without access to medical care. 

Cholera is endemic in Malawi with seasonal outbreaks reported regularly, but this instance is rapidly becoming the most devastating in over 20 years. The latest outbreak began in the southern region following a tropical storm in January 2022. Flooding led to population displacement and a lack of adequate access to safe water and sanitation, creating ideal conditions for the spread of the disease. 

Since then, the outbreak has grown in case numbers as well as geographical spread, despite vaccination campaigns taking place across the country. As of February 2023, a total over 1000 deaths have been reported. Mortality rates are particularly high in the capital of Lilongwe, where roughly 50% of nationwide deaths have occurred over the last few days.  

Our response 

UK-Med, as partners of the UK EMT, is providing emergency medical support alongside partners already working to address the critical needs brought on by the cholera outbreak.  

Our team is providing early detection and identification of cholera cases and delivering care to patients with the disease. 

We are strengthening local staff and health facilities to better manage and respond to the outbreak by providing training and mentoring in case management, water and sanitation practices, and infection prevention 

We are providing local health teams with specialist cholera kits and essential supplies, to ensure they are well equipped to tackle this ongoing emergency.   

We’ll post more updates from the team on our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) as the response develops.

We’re grateful to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for UK Aid funding from the British people to fund this important response.

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