The world’s largest cholera vaccination campaign is currently being conducted in Africa, targeting more than two million people, the UN and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) said on Monday.
“This is an unprecedented response to the epidemic of cholera epidemic across Africa,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, director of GAVI, a Geneva-based organization in a statement. vaccines in low-income countries.
“It is a response of a magnitude unprecedented in the wave of epidemics of cholera which crosses the Africa”, said in a press release by the Director of GAVI, Dr Seth Berkley, a Geneva-based organization responsible for the provision of vaccines in the low-income countries.
Many countries are currently facing epidemics of cholera in Africa, with at least 12 regions or countries in sub-Saharan Africa reporting active transmission of the disease, according to GAVI and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The large-scale vaccination campaign currently under way, scheduled to end in mid-June, targets five countries: Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, South Sudan and Nigeria.
The oral cholera vaccine is given in two doses. The first protects for six months, the second three to five years.
“Cholera resurfaces every rainy season and devastates communities across Africa. With this historic vaccination campaign, countries in the region are demonstrating their determination to stop the cholera outbreak,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
In Nigeria, 1.2 million doses will protect around 600,000 people against the new cholera epidemic emerging in Bauchi State, while in Malawi, one million doses of cholera vaccine will protect More than 500,000 people in Lilongwe to fight the epidemic that has already affected more than 900 people across the country.
In Uganda, 360,000 people in Hoima district, in the west, will be vaccinated. The country also plans to vaccinate more than 1.7 million people in the coming months. In Zambia, 667,100 doses of vaccine are being distributed in the Lusaka slum as part of a second distribution of vaccines following the major epidemic that infected more than 5,700 people and killed more than 100 people.
In addition, 113,800 doses were shipped to South Sudan as a preventive measure before the rainy season in this war-torn country.
While cholera vaccines save lives, humanitarians point out that they must be accompanied by other actions. “Given the growing number of people currently succumbing to this terrible but preventable disease, it is more than ever clear that there is a need to improve the quality of water and sanitation: this is the only solution to achieve long-term sustainability of cholera epidemics,” says Dr. Seth Berkley.