Nigeria to receive nine million doses of oral vaccines -WHO

Nigeria to receive nine million doses of oral vaccines -WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV)<.

Mr Mulombo said this while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) training on OCV request and campaign planning in Abuja on Monday.

The training organised by WHO aims to integrate OCV into the emergency and preventive measures of cholera in Nigeria.

Mr Mulombo said the expected vaccines will ensure the implementation of two campaigns in 14 LGAs across nine states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said this would significantly mitigate the risk of an upsurge of cholera cases, especially during the rainy season.

He explained that over 1.7 million persons are already vaccinated with two doses of OCV across seven LGAs in four states; Bauchi, Jigawa, Yobe and Zamfara.

He noted that the training of the task force is not only timely but also a good opportunity for everyone to remember the goal of eradicating cholera.

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“We are calling upon all member states to embrace the one health approach to respond to cholera outbreaks,” he said.

Participants at the opening ceremony of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) training on Oral Cholera Vaccine request and campaign planning in Abuja on Monday.<

Endemic in Nigeria

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera.

It appears periodically in countries unable to secure access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation like Nigeria.

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Although a preventable and treatable disease, the number of cholera cases tends to increase with the outset of the rainy season.

Mr Molumbo said Nigeria has degraded its biggest Cholera outbreak which commenced in 2021 with over 100,000 suspected cases reported.

In 2021 alone, Nigeria lost no fewer than 3,604 persons to Cholera, according to data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Early allocation of vaccines

Mr Mulombo reiterated the need for early allocation and shipment of these vaccines to ensure the vaccinations are timely.

He advised that all opportunities for vaccination campaigns are used to specifically target areas with huge zero doses and ensure that those often-missed children are not only offered OCV but opportunities for all routine vaccination.

He said some challenges identified during the 2021 annual GTFCC stakeholder meeting include poor-quality reactive and preventative OCV campaign requests, lack of OCV use as an outbreak response in some settings, and inadequate monitoring and evaluation of OCV campaigns.

He said all of these challenges must be urgently addressed for countries to win the fight against cholera.

“We are confident that the opportunity of this training will not only help improve on the gaps identified but also ensure that countries are better prepared to request, plan and implement quality campaigns with OCV as part of their national cholera control plans and further contribute to the long-term goal of ending cholera by 2030,” he said.

Participants at the opening ceremony of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) training on Oral Cholera Vaccine request and campaign planning in Abuja on Monday.
Participants at the opening ceremony of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) training on Oral Cholera Vaccine request and campaign planning in Abuja on Monday.<

Adopting OCV for prevention, control

In his remarks, Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, commended WHO for what he described as a laudable and desirable initiative.

Mr Ehanire described the OCV as a tool for prevention and control of cholera outbreaks, “which has become a recurrent seasonal public health challenge in many low and lower-middle-income countries, like ours, despite efforts at control.”

He said the traditional measures for cholera prevention and control have been to provide potable water and improve hygiene and sanitation.

He said the OCV is an additional tool in fighting cholera outbreaks in the country.

“Science has over the years risen to the task, with the development of OCV, now certified as effective enough to be recommended for disease prevention and control,” he said.

Mr Ehanire, however, lamented the limited doses of cholera vaccine in the country. He said this had restricted its use and the much-expected impact.

“I, therefore, welcome this training as a prelude to equitable access to this vaccine and another step towards our goal of better health for all.

“I believe it will strengthen our health system by reducing, or even removing one more public health nuisance by vaccination,” he said.

Malika Bouhenia, a member of the task force, said the use of the cholera vaccine is important and has a huge impact on the control of the disease.

Ms Bouhenia said since the creation of the vaccine, its use has continued to increase in various countries.

She, however, said the task force needs to key into its use to completely eradicate cholera by 2030.


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