With over 600 cholera cases recently recorded, including 11 deaths, the Ministry of Health of the Central African Country of Malawi is actively responding to this public health crisis with assistance from UNICEF, WHO and many N.G.O.'s. Among the principal activities underway are those focused on assuring availability of potable water to affected areas, and the construction of latrines and hand washing facilities. An oral choler vaccination program in the epicenter of the epidemic area has also been included among the preventive services coordinated by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF. The Report cited major concern for the lack of funding for essential WASH ( water, sanitation, and hygiene) services.
Coincidental to the release of its Report, UNICEF was hosting at its U.N. Headquarters in N.Y.C., the first meeting of the WASH Working Group of the WHO Global Task Force on Cholera Control. The Working Group, under the Chairmanship of Thierry Vandevelde, Executive Director of the Veolia Foundation, will report its initial findings to the WHO Task Force in mid June.
The Report will include emphasis on the need for more effective advocacy of funding for WASH activities among the principal international funding agencies, foundations and donor agencies.