The month of August, 2018, gave Zione Giziyele two reasons to celebrate: she gave birth to her second baby, a daughter named Chimwemwe. At the same time, her village received its first ever borehole.
Rural and semi-urban areas tend to be disadvantaged when compared to their urban counterparts. Poor sanitation, poor hygiene, school dropout rates, and poverty in general, are greater. A 2003 study, Urban-Rural Inequality in Living Standards in Africa, found that living standards in rural communities lag behind urban communities. The study found many more boys go to school than girls. Unfortunately, young girls are married off or remain at home to perform on household chores.
The day began as usual. I woke up at 6:30 am to get ready for work. An hour or so later, I arrived in Area 24 to join my colleagues, and try to stop the spread of cholera in the area.
Area 24 is a crowded township located on the boundary between Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, and the surrounding rural district.
Our task for the day was simple: to locate, photograph and mark on a Google map all the nearby sanitation and hygiene facilities including toilets, water points and dumpsites.
On 20 May 2018, Lilongwe became cholera free, following an outbreak that lasted four months, affected 388 people, and claimed 18 lives. Nationally, over 900 people were affected with 30 deaths. The outbreak was caused by unsafe water consumption and poor hygiene and sanitation practices. Unless these underlying issues are addressed, cholera is likely to return.
Malawi is currently facing a cholera outbreak in Lilongwe. This is the latest in series of cholera outbreaks across the country, caused by unsafe water sources and poor hygiene practices. In September 2017, UNICEF’s Rebecca Phwitiko travelled to Chikwawa and Nsanje to report on cholera outbreaks in the south of Malawi.
It’s only September, but the heat is already becoming unbearable. At the peak of summer, temperatures rise to a scorching 42°C in Nsanje, southern Malawi. The main road which traverses Malawi from Karonga in the north, becomes an earth road in the southern district. About 56km of bumpy earth road leads to Ndamera. There is not much to see on the way, just a few cows and some kiosks. The heat and the dust make the journey seem even longer.
By Isaac Kadam’manja, Form 3 student, Chinsapo Secondary School Isaac Kadam’manja, Form 3 student, Chinsapo Secondary School © UNICEF/2018/Naomi Kalemba Cholera is a diarrheal disease that is caused by bacteria. The first cholera cases in Malawi were recorded around 1976. Since then many people have lost their lives to the disease. People can contract cholera … Continue reading What causes cholera?
By Rebecca Phwitiko, UNICEF Malawi Aerial image of area 23, one of the populous townships in Lilongwe © UNICEF Malawi/2018/Moving Minds Multimedia Everything is carefully done. Clinicians put on their gloves, masks, protective coats and boots as they prepare to attend to patients in a cholera treatment camp at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe. The camp … Continue reading Drones for cholera response: innovating for children in Malawi
By Jennifer M’meta, Form 4 student, Chinsapo Secondary School Jennifer M’meta, Form 4 student, Chinsapo Secondary School © UNICEF/2018/Naomi Kalemba UNICEF has introduced drones as one of the ways to address the ongoing cholera outbreak. The drones are used to map out affected locations and places most likely to be affected by cholera. Recently, UNICEF … Continue reading An innovation to help fight against the outbreak of cholera in Malawi
By Alinafe Banda, Form 3 Student, Chinsapo Secondary School Alinafe Banda at Chinsapo Secondary School. © UNICEF Malawi/2018/Naomi Kalemba Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that is caused by bacteria. It spreads through consuming water and food that has been contaminated with the fecal material containing the cholera bacteria. Once in the body, the bacteria … Continue reading Cholera threats at my school in Chinsapo, Lilongwe