ActionAid Malawi Urges Government to Invest in Water and Sanitation Amid Escalating Cholera Crisis
ActionAid Malawi urges Malawi gov't to invest in WASH and gender-responsive services to tackle cholera crisis.
Malawi-ActionAid Malawi has called on the Malawi government to increase its investment in water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH) and other gender-responsive services in response to the escalating cholera crisis in the country.
The call comes after Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera launched the "Tithetse Cholera m'Malawi campaign" in Lilongwe last week and acknowledged in his State of Nation Address that the crisis is a result of "collective neglect."
According to reports, Malawi is experiencing its worst cholera crisis, with 1,468 fatalities and 45,784 cases recorded across the country as of February 19th, 2023.
The crisis has led the government to appeal for more support from well-wishers and development partners to address the gaps in cholera prevention, control, and management.
ActionAid Malawi welcomed the appeal for support, but also noted that the cholera crisis highlights the country's limited investment in the health and WASH sectors.
The charity believes that the government's austerity measures, such as the public sector staff recruitment freeze, have resulted in multiple sufferings for vulnerable groups, particularly women and girls who have been pushed further into poverty.
Ms Pamela Kuwali, ActionAid Malawi Executive Director, said: “The cholera outbreak has significantly disrupted the delivery of health services in Malawi, which is still struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like any other emergency, the cholera outbreak has disproportionately affected women and girls, increasing the unpaid care work burden as they support those affected.
“We call upon the government and non-state actors to rise to the emergency by ensuring that care, treatment and preventive measures reach all at risk of the outbreak. The cholera outbreak presents an opportunity to Malawi government to abandon austerity measures, re-look at its expenditure priority and invest resources towards key gender-responsive public services in line with Malawi government’s commitments such as the Abuja Health Declaration and the Universal Health Coverage spelt out in the Malawi Health Sector Strategic Plan.”
Since the first cholera case was reported in March 2022, ActionAid Malawi and its local partners have implemented various interventions in the communities to prevent the spread of cholera.
In November 2022, the organization donated medical supplies worth K14 million to support the cholera response in Rumphi and Mzimba districts.