January 2018 | Cholera Outbreak

Hi Everyone,

 

Charlie has reported to me that all of Malawi is greatly concerned about a recent outbreak of cholera. The neighboring nations of Zambia and Tanzania have been dealing with this for several months now. Zambia has had 1500 reported cases with over 70 deaths. So far the reports in Malawi are around a couple of hundred with a handful of deaths.

 

Cholera is caused by ingestion of contaminated foods or water. Acute diarrhea occurs which if severe enough can result in death from dehydration in just a matter of hours.
How does this affect our work in Malawi? Well, we are thinking mainly of our two feeding programs for kids. We certainly do not want to be instrumental in the spread of this horrific illness. We also do not want to cancel these programs which have helped hundreds of hungry children.
Cholera can be eliminated with proper sanitation. We will continue to run the programs while facilitating new hygiene requirements of all those working with the food. Such things as making sure the cooking water comes to a full boil for a few minutes, washing dishes using bleach and of course repetitive hand washing.
We also need to make sure that children are not relieving themselves in any form just anywhere. These simple precautions should bring the risk of infection through our feedings to close to zero.
Over the years we have been to hundreds of villages to repair their boreholes. We have been told in many many villages of cases of cholera from contaminated water (and many deaths) because the water they resort to is the same as what the animals use. This new concern has reminded me that we probably should be testing the borehole water after we get them working. That is something I will look into in the not too distant future. Thank you all for your concern, prayers and support!

 

Grace & Peace,
John

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