Respite has come the way of the people of Borno as partners such as GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, World Health Organization, (WHO), the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Primary health Care Development Agency (NPHCD) began mass vaccination against cholera in the state on Tuesday.
A release made available to Nigeria Health Online by the Nigerian Country Office of WHO today said Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and partners delivered 915,005 doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine to the country last week.
It said Federal Government, supported by WHO and partners, plan to vaccinate everyone over the age of one in these areas — more than 915 000 people — over the next few days.
The campaign, the release said, will take place in Muna internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp inMaiduguri as well as Jere, Monguno and Dikwa local government areas (LGAs).
The release quoted NCDC Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, as saying the Federal Government through the NCDC and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in collaboration with the WHO, UNICEF and other partners were all supporting the Borno State Ministry of Health in leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the current cholera outbreak in some parts of Borno state is contained shortly.
Dr. Chikwe further .said that government at all levels was working closely with partners to improve the sanitation situation, conducting hygiene promotion and disinfection of the affected areas including Muna, Custom house, Monguno and Farm centre IDPs camp, Dikwa, Konduga, Jere LGAs and Maiduguri Municipal Council.
“Following heavy rainfall and lack of access to safe water, more than 2600 suspected cholera cases have been reported, as of 16 September, in Borno state with more than 40 deaths since the first case was confirmed in mid-August.
“The majority of cases have been detected in the Muna IDP camp on the outskirts of Borno state’s capital Maiduguri, which houses 20,000 people who have fled the Boko Haram conflict. The number of suspected cholera cases has also increased dramatically in Dikwa and Monguno areas in the past few weeks.
“The decision to send cholera vaccines from the global stockpile was taken on 7 September by the International Coordinating Group (ICG) for Vaccine Provision.
“Thousands of people in these camps have already left their homes to flee violence and terror. They now find themselves at risk of cholera,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, adding that ”these lifesaving vaccines will play a vital role in slowing the spread of the disease, buying valuable time to put the right water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in place to stop the
root causes of this outbreak.
“WHO and partners are already making a difference by alerting people of the risks of cholera, supporting the early detection of
cases, treating cases and taking other steps to end the outbreak,” said Dr Wondi Alemu, WHO Representative in Nigeria, stressing that “We are focusing on delivering a single dose to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible. As we proceed with this vaccination campaign, we hope to contain this outbreak, and support the collective commitment by partners from the health sector and other sectors to help people in Borno state. Then we can move forward with addressing the myriad of other pressing health needs in Borno.”
“Gavi, WHO and partners are working with the NCDC and Borno State Ministry of Health to make the vaccine available free-of-cost to affected populations, while supporting ongoing cholera prevention and preparedness,” the release concluded.