Near the end of January 2022, tropical storm Ana caused severe flooding in Malawi after passing over Madagascar. In Makhanga peninsula, on the eastern bank of the Shire river in Nsanje district, the health centre and health post were flooded and forced to close completely from 25 January.
Home to around 16,000 people, this had a serious impact on patients’ access to care, especially HIV positive patients, pregnant women, people with malaria and people following up for nutrition support. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams worked closely with the Malawian Ministry of Health to respond to the emergency and provide medical help to the people affected.
Here are three ways MSF teams responded to Tropical Storm Ana in Malawi
MSF facilitated the reopening of the health centre of Makhanga peninsula three days a week, thanks to the support of the World Food Programme, who lent us a boat. This enabled MSF to ferry health staff as well as drugs and medical goods to the peninsula. Incentives were also presented to the staff to help resume activities as soon as possible.
In mid-March, the first case of cholera was reported in the Nsanje district as a result of the floods. MSF set up a treatment centre for people infected with cholera and supported their medical treatment. The team may also participate with the Ministry of Health in a vaccination campaign to prevent further outbreak.
MSF teams kept a close eye on diseases reported and rolled out measures to prevent any epidemics. This included case investigations, contact tracing and the disinfection of water points. We also trained community health workers from the Ministry of Health and enabled health promotion activities within communities.