The raging Tropical Cyclone Freddy has made most health facilities inaccessible to people in the affected districts, a preliminary report from the Ministry of Health says.
The cyclone, according to the report, led to the loss of access to health facilities and infrastructure, resulting in an acute shortage of staff and supplies.
The report states that four health centres of Luwani, Dambe, Nsambe, and Matope, are inaccessible in Neno while in Chikwawa, Nchalo Hunger and Ngabu Rural Health Centres are also inaccessible due to road washouts.
In Nsanje district, there is no access to all M1 health facilities due to road washouts, and all outreach clinics have been suspended.
In Mulanje district, three health facilities are inaccessible, two of which are due to road washouts, and one due to flooding.
In Phalombe district, four health centres are not accessible, and Phalombe Health Centre was completely flooded. Blantyre district, however, has not reported any damage to infrastructure so far.
Human resources have also been affected, as health workers in the affected districts have been displaced and have lost property, leading to an acute shortage of staff in their facilities.
Some health centres have lost all their supplies, while others have lost some, leading to a critical shortage of supplies in certain accessible facilities.
Additionally, power outages have led to a need for an urgent supply of fuel for transportation and generators.
Some health facilities do not have running water due to the power outage.
Cyclone Freddy has also resulted in deaths and injuries.
In Blantyre district, a total of 119 people were brought in dead (BID) at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), while the total number seen at QECH was 404.
There were 111 adult admissions, including 54 men, 57 women, and three pregnant women.
A total of 76 children were seen, with one child reported dead in the hospital. In Nsanje district, the cumulative number of deaths reported is 10.
The ministry is still waiting for data on the number of injuries and deaths in other districts as they have yet to do a rapid assessment.
Meanwhile, the ministry urges everyone in the affected areas to exercise caution and follow the guidelines provided by the authorities.