Crisis Corps Sends Volunteers to Malawi

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 25, 2002—The Crisis Corps will send its first group of volunteers to Malawi, southern Africa, today for a cholera prevention initiative. A total of ten Crisis Corps volunteers will be working on five- to six-month assignments with this project.

UNICEF and the Government of Malawi have requested Crisis Corps volunteers to aid them in their efforts to address cholera outbreaks. Though a cholera outbreak in Malawi often occurs on an annual basis, it is typically small-scale and limited to the rainy season from October to December. The cholera outbreak of 2001-2002 was Malawi’s worst recorded cholera epidemic in over 25 years. The Ministry of Health reported over 33,000 cases of cholera and 926 deaths throughout the country. This year’s outbreak is expected to be much worse due to the country’s food crisis coupled with the poor health of Malawians due to chronic malnutrition, poverty, and HIV/AIDS.

The volunteers will be working closely with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF to undertake a range of activities aimed at preventing, detecting, and responding quickly to the expected cholera epidemic. The volunteers will work with their Ministry of Health counterparts in ten districts to visit health clinics and provide information, training, and support in the areas of cholera prevention and outbreaks.

The Crisis Corps is an innovative Peace Corps program that utilizes returned Peace Corps volunteers to provide short-term assistance in disaster relief and humanitarian response efforts. The program was established in 1996. To date, more than 485 Crisis Corps volunteers have served in 31 countries. Currently, Crisis Corps has Volunteers working in six African countries in the areas of drought relief, HIV/AIDS education, and assistance to refugees, and internally displaced persons.

Since 1961, more than 165,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and HIV/AIDS education, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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