ABOUT 385 000 people in Cyclone Idai affected areas of Chimanimani and Chipinge received the oral cholera vaccine as of Wednesday, UNICEF has said.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The cholera vaccination initiative which commenced last week is a preventive measure to avert a possible cholera outbreak in the affected areas. The target is to administer the oral vaccine to over 480 000 people in the affected areas aged 12 months and older.
“As we approach the end of Oral Cholera Vaccination Campaign in the two #CycloneIdal affected districts, Chimanimani and Chipinge. We have managed to vaccinate 384,909, greatly reducing the risk of a cholera outbreak in the at-risk communities. #vaccineswork,” the United Nations arm tweeted.
Having received about a million OCVs, the Ministry of Health and Child Care intends to vaccinate about 500 000.
While Gavi is supporting the operational costs of the campaign, the stockpile of the vaccine is managed by the International Coordinating Group, which includes WHO, UNICEF the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Médecins Sans Frontières.
“We are working with various partners that include the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF and the programme has been funded by Gavi Alliance which provided the vaccines. You know Mozambique has recorded more than 6 000 cases of cholera and 8 people have succumbed to the disease and we want to avert such a crisis,” Health Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said.
WHO incident manager Cyclone Idai. Dr Otim Patrick Ramadan, who is on the ground in the affected areas monitoring the administration of the vaccine, expressed satisfaction with the progress made to date.
“We are targeting to reach at least 5 000 people aged 1 year and above. So far more than 270 000 people have received the vaccination. We got a million doses but for the initial campaign we will be prioritising communities in affected areas,” he said.
Neighbouring Mozambique which was also affected by Cyclone Idai has recorded more than 6 000 cases of cholera and eight people have since succumbed to the waterborne disease in the past two weeks.
However, the number of new cholera cases that are being reported in that country are beginning to decline following the successful launch of the oral cholera vaccination campaign.