Mozambique: WHO to help tackle disease outbreaks following Cyclone Idai

Leslie Hanson
April 5, 2019

Almost 900,000 doses of the cholera vaccine, procured by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), arrived in Beira, Mozambique, on Tuesday afternoon and the vaccination campaign will begin imminently.

The number of cholera cases reported has steadily increased from around 150 late last week to over 1000 by Monday afternoon.

Residents of Beira are at greatest risk but cases have also been reported in more isolated areas in Mozambique.

Cholera is transmitted through contaminated drinking water or food and causes acute diarrhoea.

The new figures are an indication that cholera is spreading but is being brought under control, health workers say.

China's rescue team donated disaster relief equipment to health authorities of Mozambique on Tuesday in Beira, central province of Sofala, which was hit hardest by the devastating tropical cyclone Idai.

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said in a statement that it is now supporting the Ministry of Health in caring for patients suspected of suffering from cholera at three health centres in the port city of Beira and has been treating more than 200 patients a day.

"The next few weeks are crucial and speed is of the essence if we are to save lives and limit suffering", Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of WHO Africa, said.

Hundreds of thousands of other people have been left homeless, with many of them forced into overcrowded shelters or not having access to clean drinking water and proper sanitary facilities.

The overall death toll from the cyclone is now 598 in Mozambique, with more than 300 deaths in neighbouring Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The World Health Organisation has warned of a spike in cases of the disease in the coming days.

Water treatment systems are also being re-established while water purification products are being distributed across the affected region.

The aftermath of Idai may prove to be even deadlier, with 1.85 million people displaced after entire villages were submerged and households swept away.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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