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Malawi Seeks UN Assistance Amid Cholera Outbreak

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FILE: A medical personnel stands in front of a ward of a Cholera Treatment Centre, funded by the Unicef, Malawi Red Cross and UK Aid, at Bwaila Hospital in the capital Lilongwe, Malawi, January 25, 2018.

Malawian health authorities Thursday called on the United Nations to assist the southern African nation with more cholera vaccines, amid an outbreak that has claimed 128 lives to date and fears of the water-borne disease claiming more lives.

Malawian officials Thursday said the southern African nation has recorded 4,420 cases of Cholera, which is one of its highest tallies in a decade and are turning to the United Nations for assistance.

Storm Kabuluzi, the director of preventative health services under Malawi’s health ministry said the southern African nation has requested more vaccines from the global health body which will be used in the central and northern regions.

"What is important is to contain the cholera outbreak today," said Kabuluzi.

"The good thing with cholera is that we can treat and you can prevent. What is important is to work with the communities to promote hygiene," added Kabuluzi.

Recent statistics released by Malawian authorities show that Cholera cases approximately tripled in three months which has affected 24 out of 28 districts.

Health experts say cholera is contracted from a germ that is generally transmitted through contaminated food or water, which causes diarrhea, vomiting, and can be dangerous for young children.

Officials of the World Health Organization last week warned that Malawi was "on the verge of a public health crisis," and added that safe water and sanitation are crucial in preventing the transmission of Cholera.

Maziko Matemba, Malawi's community health ambassador issued a warning that the rainy season, which typically starts in November, could make matters worse for the southern African nation.

A health ministry spokesman told local newspaper The Nation on Thursday the outbreak had caught authorities "off-guard."

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