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WHO Deploys 9m Doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine in Nine States

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As part of efforts to arrest cholera outbreak in Nigeria, the World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the deployment of approximately nine million doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) in 14 local government areas in nine states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The vaccination campaign is a follow-up to an earlier one in which over 1.7 million persons were vaccinated each with two doses of Oral Cholera Vaccination(OCV) across seven LGAs in four states of Bauchi, Jigawa, Yobe and Zamfara.

WHO said that Nigeria had made significant degrading in its biggest Cholera outbreak which commenced in 2021 with over 100,000 suspected cases reported.

In a speech delivered at the WHO training on the integration of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) in emergency and preventative held in Abuja Monday, the Africa Regional Director, WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Molumbo, said it is expected that the vast experience built in Nigeria over the years in implementing mass vaccination campaigns will be put to use in implementing the latest vaccination campaign.

“Working in line with the preparedness towards future campaigns, we believe that the recently approved GTFCC application for Nigeria with approximately nine million doses of OCV to implement two campaigns in 14 LGAs in nine 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 carried out sooner than later,” he said.

Molumbo said the challenges identified during the 2021 annual GTFCC stakeholder meeting including poor quality reactive and preventative OCV campaign requests, lack of OCV use as an outbreak response in some settings and inadequate monitoring and evaluation of OCV campaigns need to be addressed.

According to him, WHO was cognizant of the need to implement quality campaigns and the operational challenges in different contexts.

“Nigeria has demonstrated the capacity to implement campaigns in difficult settings, including security challenges as experienced in the two 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 to the long-term goal of ending cholera by 2030,” he said.

Molumbo praised 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.

“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,” he said.

 

 

 

The training brought together participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, South Sudan and Uganda. While opening the training programme, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, thanked WHO for the training, which he said was aimed at integrating oral cholera vaccination into the emergency and preventive measures of the country.

“I commend the World Health Organisation (WHO) for this laudable and desirable initiative, a tool for prevention and control of cholera outbreaks, which has for some time now, become a recurrent seasonal public health challenge in many low and lower middle income countries, like ours, despite efforts at control,” he said.

Culled from THISDAY

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