Panafrican News Agency

WHO launches Cholera vaccination campaign in Mozambique

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA)  - An oral cholera vaccination campaign to protect survivors of Cyclone Idai begins Wednesday in Beira, Mozambique, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a statement made available to PANA in Kigali.


Reports by the UN agency indicate that there has already been one reported cholera death and almost 1,500 reported cases following the cyclone, which caused severe flooding in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Madagascar after making landfall in March.


Nine cholera treatment centres, with 500-bed capacity, are already admitting patients, it said.


The campaign which is funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the campaign will be carried out by the Mozambique Ministry of Health, with support from WHO and other partners, is being conducted  to coordinate the oral cholera vaccination campaign, to ensure an appropriate cold chain storage and providing logistical support for some 884,953 doses of oral cholera vaccine.


Reports by health officials in Mozambique indicate that Cholera is endemic in the Southern African country which has had regular outbreaks over the past five years.


Latest figures indicate that about 2,000 people were infected in the last outbreak, which ended in February 2018.  


Commenting on these efforts, the  Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: "Hundreds of thousands of people are living in terrible conditions in temporary settlements without safe drinking water and sanitation, putting them at serious risk of cholera and other diseases."


“The key thing is to make sure that people can access rapid treatment and clean water and sanitation," he said.


Since the beginning of 2019, more than 6 million doses of oral cholera vaccines have already been shipped to respond to outbreaks or address endemic cholera in many countries, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Somalia and Zimbabwe, the UN agency said.

-0- PANA TWA/VAO 3April2019