835,000 people to receive second dose of cholera vaccine in DR Congo

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A local official receives a dose of oral cholera vaccine in, July 2019 (WHO)
A local official receives a dose of oral cholera vaccine in, July 2019 (WHO)

The second phase of an oral vaccination campaign to protect more than 835,000 people from cholera in North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) kicked off on Wednesday.

The campaign, funded by the Ministry of Health, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will target everyone older than 12 months in seven North Kivu health zones- Binza, Goma, Karisimbi, Kayna, Kibirizi, Kirotshe and Rutshuru.

The campaign which will run for 5 days, from 30 October to 3 November, follows the first-dose distribution of the cholera vaccine in June 2019, which was also fully funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, with the extensive technical and logistical support of WHO and partners.

“The second dose of the vaccine provides long-term immunity against cholera and is a key tool in contributing to the control of the cholera epidemic,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.

“While ending the Ebola epidemic in North Kivu is a priority, WHO is working with the Ministry of Health to strengthen the fight against all epidemics and health emergencies in the country,” she added.

According to data provided by the national surveillance system, a total of 22,314 suspected cholera cases were reported in North Kivu, with 390 deaths.

“It is more necessary than ever to recall the importance of investing in sanitation in our local infrastructure, including gutter and sewer cleaning in our cities, in addition to increasing the coverage of drinking water to reduce any risk of people consuming contaminated lake water that exposes them to cholera,” said Dr Deo Nshimirimana, Interim WHO Representative in the DRC.

During this second-dose campaign, more than 1170 vaccinators (585 teams) working with 124 community mobilizers and 233 community supervisors will use a door-to-door strategy to provide the oral immunization.

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