WHO set to advocates mass vaccination campaign for Cholera

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advocated the implementation of mass vaccination campaign to curb the outbreak of Cholera in many parts of the country and other countries suffering the same problem in Africa.

WHO said with intensive and quality campaign and mass vaccination against the scourge of Cholera, the country will meet the 2030 global deadline on the elimination of the disease.

According to CHAMPION NEWS, the agency acknowledged the role of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control and the country support platform (CSP) in the global roadmap for cholera control, especially in endemic countries through the development of the country national control plans (NCPs) including not only vaccination but also WASH activities.

The WHO country representative in Nigeria, Walter Kazadi Molumbo at the WHO Training on the integration of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) in emergency and preventative contexts in Abuja yesterday, said Nigeria has just degraded its biggest Cholera outbreak which commenced in 2021 with over 100,000 suspected cases reported.

He stated that the world health body was mindful of the support by different partners/donors through WHO for the response, including reactive vaccination with over 1.7 million persons vaccinated each with 2 doses of Oral Cholera Vaccination(OCV) across 7 LGAs in 4 states of Bauchi, Jigawa, Yobe and Zamfara.

According to him, “Working in line with the preparedness towards future campaigns, we believe that the recently approved GTFCC application for Nigeria with approximately 9million doses of OCV to implement two campaigns in 14 LGAs in 9 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, would significantly mitigate the risk of and upsurge of cholera cases during this raining season.

“However, we wish to further reiterate the need for the early allocation and shipment of these vaccines to ensure these vaccinations and carries out sooner than later

The challenges identified during 2021 annual GTFCC stakeholder meeting, including a) Poor quality reactive and preventative OCV campaign requests b) Lack of OCV use as an outbreak response in some settings and c) Inadequate monitoring and evaluation of OCV campaigns and need to be addressed sooner than later.

“WHO is cognizant of the need to implement quality campaigns and the operational challenges in different contexts. Nigeria has demonstrated capacity to implement campaigns in difficult settings, including security challenges as experienced in the 2 LGAs in Zamfara as well as addressed and improved Campaign data quality, through the use of real time reporting by vaccination teams using hand mobile phones.

“We believe that the vast experience built in Nigeria over the years in implementing mass vaccination campaigns, will come to bear, as we prepare for these preventive campaigns.

“We are confident that the opportunity of this training for knowledge sharing from the three levels of the organization and the multiple country participants, will not only help improve on the gaps identified but also ensure that countries are better prepared to request, plan and implement quality campaigns with OCV as part of their national Cholera control plans and further contribute the long-term goal of Ending Cholera by 2030.

Continuing, he said, “Pursuant to addressing equality and equity issues and ensuring reduction in zero doses children in alignment with the Gavi 5.0 and the Immunization Agenda 2030, we must ensure that all opportunities of vaccination campaigns are used to specifically target areas with huge zero doses and ensure that these often-missed children are not only offered OCV but opportunities for all routine vaccination.

According to him, “Cholera control efforts is a holistic one including more than just vaccination. The need to address issues around WASH remains critical in the long term. This brings to bear the need to improved coordination of cholera control efforts and ensure that clean and safe water as well as improve hygienic practices as highlighted in the Cholera control plans are implemented in a sustainable manner to ensure we achieve the desired goal.

“We look forward to the outputs of this training and assure you of WHO Nigeria’s support to the Government of Nigeria in implementing the NCP (when finalized), including ensuring quality vaccination campaigns while also monitoring and evaluating the implementation of this plan”.

Speaking, the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire said that cholera outbreaks has become a recurrent seasonal public health challenge in many low and lower-middle-income countries, like ours, despite efforts to control it.

While commending the World Health Organisation (WHO) for organizing training on the integration of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) in emergency and preventative contexts, Ehanire said this laudable and desirable initiative, is a tool for the prevention and control of cholera.

He further added that the availability of vaccines has unfortunately been limited, which has restricted its use and the much-expected impact on Nigeria.

He said, the first recorded appearance of cholera at an epidemic level in Nigeria was in 1972, with gradually increasing numbers of outbreaks over the years, along with marked mortality and morbidity, and expenses associated with treatment and management, adding that the traditional measures for cholera prevention and control have been to provide potable water and improve hygiene and sanitation. Science has, however, over the years, rising to the task, with the development of the oral cholera vaccine, now certified as effective enough to be recommended for disease prevention and control.

Similarly, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr Faisal Shuaib said, “we had an outbreak last year and the timely release of vaccines was very helpful.

Represented Dr Bassey Okoposen, he said they have a National Technical Working group while reassuring WHO, other partners that the vaccines will be effectively made use of.

In addition, Gavi Programme Officer, Allyson Russell said they are committed to supporting countries to control cholera around the world, stating that they have supported countries with cholera vaccines for the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, the Focal point person for the OCV, Malika Bouhenia said the use of the cholera vaccine is very important and has a good impact on the control of cholera and other activities such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Abdullahi Sanni

Abdullahi Sanni is a senior news reporter at SHO PEN ONLINE. He is a passionate writer with core interest in Politics, sports and economy reports. Abdullahi who studied mass communication at Kwara state polytechnic in Ilorin, is the 1st of six in his family. He's a multimedia journalist who has traveled far and wide in the course of his journalism career.

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