Somalia launches Cholera vaccination drive targeting 650,000 people

MOGADISHU, June 23 (Hornnews24.com) – Somalia has launched on Saturday a week-long immunization campaign, using oral cholera vaccines in high-risk areas to prevent recurring cholera outbreaks in the country.

The June 22-28 campaign will vaccinate more than 650,000 people aged one year and above to eliminate the risk of the disease among vulnerable populations in the war torn country.

Somali health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) are conducting the campaign with the support of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the Global Task Force for Cholera Control (GTFCC).

Dr. Mamunur Rehman Malik, WHO Representative for Somalia, said: “No one should die of cholera in the 21st century, especially when we have an affordable and easily administrable cure. It remains our collective responsibility to save lives and end cholera from Somalia. We remain committed to keep the country free from future cholera outbreaks,”

Fauziya Abikar Nur, Somalia’s health minister, said cholera remains one of the major public health threats.  “We now have the means and solutions to end cholera from Somalia. We continue to work with WHO and our other partners to save lives and prevent cholera on a long-term sustainable basis,” Nur said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, referring to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Vaccinator teams that include 126 supervisors at national, regional and district level and 112 vaccinators will aim to vaccinate around 150 people a day. A total of 217 community mobilizers have been deployed to conduct house-to-house visits and inform communities about campaign dates and benefits of the vaccines prior to beginning of the campaign.

During the two rounds of the campaign, vaccinators will go from house to house in the six districts of Heliwa, Kahda and Harmajajab in Banadir, Balad and Afgoye in the South West State, and Kismayo in Lower Juba offering oral cholera vaccine.

In 2017, the country faced one of the largest outbreaks in its history, with 78,784 cases, including 1,159 deaths. A year later, in 2018, Somalia saw a reduction in reported cases of cholera and related deaths, largely due to improved disease surveillance and case management, with the reported number of cases standing at 6,448, including 45 deaths.

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