WHO, Health officials launch cholera vaccination campaign in Mozambique

Medical staff wait to treat patients at a cholera centre set up in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Patients who have diarrhea are accomodated in a treatment tent at Macurungo urban healt center in Beira on March 27, 2019 as five cases of cholera have been confirmed in Mozambique following the cyclone that ravaged the country killing at least 468 people. (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Mozambican Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners launched a cholera vaccination campaign in Mozambique to protect survivors of Cyclone Idai.

According to the WHO, at-risk communities will be given one cholera vaccine dose which provides protection from the disease for at least six months. A second dose is scheduled to be made available later in the year.

The six-day campaign kicked off on Wednesday a day after a shipment of 900,000 doses of cholera vaccines arrived in the country.

The WHO said the campaign will cover four areas: Beira city and the districts of Dondo, Nhamatanda and Buzi.

“Once a person is sick, accessing treatment as quick as possible is of most importance. It’s a sad fact to remind everyone the young, the frail and the old – children especially – if they catch cholera in the morning, they could be dead in the evening, if not treated,” the WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told journalists in Geneva.

One person has been confirmed dead following an outbreak of the disease with at least another 1,500 cases reported, according to the WHO.

Seven cholera treatment centers have been set up across the areas affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.

The WHO also warned that extreme weather conditions, especially heavy rain, continue to pose challenges to efforts to respond to the disease.

UNICEF says an agreement has been reached with local radio stations to raise awareness about controlling the spread of cholera and other preventable diseases, such as malaria.

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