WHO Tackles Cholera With Oral Vaccine In Northwest Nigeria

WHO conducted a five-day vaccination campaign in Jigawa state, with a target of vaccinating almost a million people in the Northern Region.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commenced an oral cholera vaccination (OCV) after a recently concluded cholera vaccination campaign in Jigawa State, Northwest Nigeria.

As of the second week of Oct. 90,908 suspected cases were recorded and over 3,000 deaths have been reported across 32 states since the beginning of the year, according to WHO. 

As of that time, reports for the same period in Jigawa indicate that twenty-two of the 27 LGAs are currently battling with cases of cholera with over 10,000 suspected cholera cases and almost 500 deaths reported so far. 

According to the report, the state capital Duste, Birnin Kudu and Hadejia, are the worst hit by the current outbreak.

In response to the outbreak, the Jigawa State Government, in partnership with WHO, conducted a five-day vaccination campaign, with a  target of vaccinating almost a million people, aged above one year with the OCV. At the end of day four of the campaign, WHO said, 702,885 persons had been vaccinated. 

Mallam Saleh Magaji Baranda, a father of 11 and a farmer from Baranda village, was vaccinated with the OCV. After surviving his near-death experience with cholera, WHO said, Baranda did not hesitate to receive the vaccine during the recent launch of the vaccination campaign. 

“I have been talking to the people in my community to receive the vaccine. I call on my brothers and sisters, and everyone to turn out and be vaccinated against cholera so that we are all protected,” WHO quoted him as saying.

In collaboration with the state agencies and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), WHO supported the submission of a request to the Inter-Agency Coordination Group (ICG) for cholera vaccinations. 

The request includes approval and release of over 3.5 million doses of OCV as well as operational cost for two rounds of reactive vaccination exercise across six LGAs in three states, of which three are in Jigawa State.

With the support from the ICG and the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC), WHO said, the reactive vaccination started in one of the worst affected communities, Baranda village in Duste on Friday, Oct. 22 by the Emir of Dutse, Dr. Nuhu Muhammadu Sanusi.

The Emir, in his opening remark, said, “it is saddening that Nigeria is still combating the disease.”

“We still have a lot to do regarding hygiene and open defecation. I am grateful to WHO and other partners for supporting the state during crucial times of need,” he said.

According to WHO,  two vaccine doses offered at least two weeks apart confirms full protection for 2 – 3 years, the first round conducted by the organisation between 21 – 26 Oct. targeted over 900,000 people, while the second vaccination is slated for 20 – 24 Nov., 2021.

Dr Terna Nomhwange, the WHO National Surveillance Officer/Vaccine-Preventable Disease (VPD) spoke on the importance of the vaccine and its safety. 

He pledged WHO continuous support to the states in ensuring health security and response to vaccine-preventable diseases.

Meanwhile, Dr Kabir Ibrahim, the Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Agency in Jigawa assured communities that the government is responding to the outbreak through multiple approaches, including case management and risk communication.

WHO has continued to support all states in its response to the outbreak through an Incident Management System (IMS), with funding provided for the implementation of an Incident Action Plan (IAP) and deployment of technical assistance across all affected states.

As part of the control process, a hot spot mapping has also been completed with plans for pre-emptive vaccinations against cholera across selected LGAs in the coming months. This preemptive vaccination is said to be supported by the GTFCC.

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