Kia Motors has joined forces with the Korea-based International Vaccine Institute (IVI) to provide an emergency vaccination program across the Nsanje district of southern Malawi. Kia will support IVI with the necessary funding to provide 110,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine for 50,000 people in the region, which has been hit by devastating floods.
The floods that hit the Nsanje region in January have left 176 people dead and displaced more than 200,000 residents. Malawi President Peter Mutharika declared a state of emergency and has urged the international community to provide assistance.
Amid the situation, a growing number of cholera cases have been reported in camps for IDPs (internally displaced persons) and in the surrounding areas. A total of 329 cases have been confirmed since the outbreak began in February, with half of all cases (157) having been recorded in the fortnight since April 10 alone.
With mounting concern over for the potential for an epidemic, the IVI and World Health Organisation (WHO) have deployed cholera vaccines on an emergency basis to prevent the outbreak from spreading, with Kia Motors supporting the vaccination measures. Earlier cholera epidemics among refugees in Haiti in 2010 and South Sudan in 2013 left more than 10,000 dead. Additionally, Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also provided emergency disaster assistance to IVI to support its vaccination campaign.
Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, said, “Since flooding devastated Malawi’s Nsanje region in 2012, we began preparing for a mass vaccination project with the country’s national health authority, using analysis of flooding patterns and cholera outbreaks in Malawi. With this prior preparation, and with crucial funding from Kia Motors, we have been able to provide timely assistance in the wake of the latest floods. The vaccination campaign will contribute significantly to the prevention of cholera throughout the flood-affected areas.”
The vaccination campaign is a global CSR initiative that Kia has conducted jointly with IVI, an international organization established as a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme and WHO, a UN body dedicated to improving health globally.
Chang-Muk Choi, head of the CSR Management Team at Kia Motors Corporation, said, “We are doing everything we can to provide help to the flood-affected people of Malawi, and the IVI’s cholera vaccination project will help alleviate the disaster situation in the Nsanje region. In the future, Kia will redouble its efforts to become a company that helps those people most in need.”
Since 2012, Kia has been conducting biomedical and health projects in Malawi after establishing a ‘Green Light Health Center’ to help improve the quality of life among local residents as part of its flagship global CSR program, the Kia Green Light Project. In addition, the company has conducted a survey of areas at high risk of cholera in Malawi in collaboration with the IVI since 2013. Both organisations had prepared for a cholera vaccination program in the Nsanje region.
Kia is providing about US$2 million to its Green Light Project every year since 2012. The global project is aimed at assisting individuals and local communities suffering under the toughest living conditions.