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Malawi Declares Health State Of Emergency.

Malawi  Declares Health State Of Emergency.

Ministry of Health has assured citizens and all stakeholders that Malawi government at all levels will continue to show strong commitment to address the Wild Poliovirus Type 1(WPV1) outbreak.

The Minister of Health Khumbidze Kandodo Chiponda said the Ministry has Commenced vaccine distribution and vaccine management trainings at lower levels to its health workers.

After 3 decades, the first case of WPV1 from an acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) has been confirmed on 16 February
2022 in Lilongwe district.

“For fast response to the outbreak we have engaged our partners the World Health Organisation-WHO, United
International Children’s Emergency Fund-UNICEF and Global Polio Eradication Initiative-GPEI. It is our hope
that we eradicate polio completely,” she said.

Kandodo further said that the outbreak has called for much attention as it is a disabling and life threatening disease.
“Polio is an infectious disease and can be passed from one person to another through ingestion of food or water which is contaminated with polio virus. The high risk group are those that are unvaccinated or those that have
received fewer doses of polio vaccines,” said Kandodo.

History has it that last time that Malawi recorded WPV1 is in 1992 meaning that this is the first case in thirty years.

In 2005, Malawi obtained Polio free status while the WHO African region received its Polio free status certificate in the year 2020.

As a member of WHO Malawi works in line with the WHO guidance and the International Health Regulations (IHR),
the country is immediately putting in place additional activities in order to contain the situation in the country.

“There will be Emergence Operations Committee (EOC) meetings and a risk assessment of the situation will be done with support from our partners such as the WHO,” Kandodo said.

The Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr Charles Mwansambo said the polio vaccination campaigns begin on 21st
March 2022.

‘The response plan includes at least 4 rounds of nationwide supplementary immunization campaigns. Our target
is on children that are under 5 years of age,” he said.

“We also urge the general public to be much cooperative as we conduct the fight against the disease and make
sure that our children are vaccinated,” said Mwansambo.

Director of Blantyre Health Services, Dr Gift Kawalazira says in they are targeting under five children who are 240,463 in total

“To achieve that, we will be going door to door to vaccinate all children under five years,” Kawalazira said.

He has however urged media to sensitize people on polio vaccine for Ministry of Health to reach its goal.

Just like any other diseases Polio is also preventable. As such the Ministry of Health has encouraged the general public to continue observing good personal hygiene practices as we know that the virus is spread through ingestion of contaminated food or water.

The disease has been declared as public health emergency by the Malawi government.

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