Zimbabwe vaccinates 1.4 million to combat worst cholera outbreak

Henrietta Strickland
October 6, 2018

Gavi is also funding operational costs for the campaign. He said ultimately, the whole country would get the cholera vaccinations, which could protect an individual for up to five years.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director for Africa, said the outbreak is geographically concentrated in the densely populated suburbs of Harare.

Zimbabwe has started vaccinating people living in urban areas to contain the worst cholera outbreak to hit the country in a decade which has left 49 people dead and infected thousands more.

"A second dose will be provided within six months in order to provide at least three years' protection", he said adding that the protection was temporary and that the best way to prevent cholera remained "improved water, sanitation and hygiene".

"Gavi has worked hard to ensure the global cholera vaccine stockpile remains fully stocked and ready to help stop outbreaks such as this", Barkley said.

The vaccination campaign will be rolled out in two rounds, focusing on the most heavily affected suburbs of Harare and Chitungwiza, located about 19 miles southeast of the capital.

To ensure longer-term immunity, a second dose will be provided in all areas at a later stage, according to the WHO.

A health worker checks patients' intravenous (IV) fluid infusions at the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Clinic in Harare.

"Government continues to carry out short-term measures to address the current outbreak of cholera and typhoid as well as the long-term measures to prevent a recurrence of the same epidemics", she said.

The vaccination campaign is complementing other measures adopted by the Zimbabwean authorities to contain the outbreak with the support of World Health Organization and partners.

The strategy would include making inoculations available at health facilities, schools and shopping centres. This requires strong partnerships and a response across multiple sectors, especially in the investment and maintenance of community-wide water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

Many fear a repeat of 2008 when cholera killed more than 4,000 people at the height of the southern African country's economic and political problems.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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