Thursday, 25 April, 2019

Cyclone-hit Mozambique launches mass cholera vaccination blitz

A Mozambique woman gave birth to her baby daughter while she and her 2-year-old son were clinging to the branches of a mango tree during Cyclone Idai Cholera infects 1,400 in cyclone-hit Mozambique
Celia Hoffman | 06 April, 2019, 13:23

Almost 900,000 doses of the cholera vaccine procured by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have arrived in Beira, Mozambique and the vaccination campaign will begin imminently, Unicef said.

Cholera cases in cyclone-hit Mozambique have risen above 1,400, government officials said Tuesday, as hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses arrived in an attempt to limit the rapid spread of the disease. Al Jazeera quoted Kate Alberti, a cholera expert at the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying that the campaign will immunize around 900,000 people in four districts, including Beira, Buzi, Nhamatanda and Dondo, which were badly affected by Cyclone Idai last month.

Cyclone Idai hit the coast of central Mozambique on March 15 with hurricane-force winds and rains flooding the hinterland and drenching eastern Zimbabwe.

At least 82 Zimbabweans have been buried in neighbouring Mozambique after their bodies were washed downstream in floods caused by Cyclone Idai.

Currently, there has already been one reported cholera death and nearly 1500 reported cases following the cyclone.

Already the number of cholera cases is more than double the 500 beds set up for patients in Beira that is the center of relief efforts for central Mozambique.

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Cholera is spread through contaminated food or drinking water and causes acute diarrhoea. "The oral cholera vaccine is a vital emergency measure that will help save lives and stop the spread of this disgusting disease".

Mr Berkley said Gavi is also supporting operational costs of the campaign. "The important thing is to get sick people into treatment as soon as possible".

"The oral cholera vaccine is a vital emergency measure that will help save lives and stop the spread of this frightful disease", said World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Ghebreyesus.

The use of the stockpile for outbreak response is managed by the International Coordinating Group (ICG), which features representatives from WHO, UNICEF, IFRC and MSF.

Monday's count of cholera cases had been 1,052.

In 2018 alone, the stockpile provided 17 million of doses to 22 different countries.

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