The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has embarked on the biggest oral vaccination against cholera in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to information in the WHO’s official website, the exercise, which commenced on July 3, is scheduled to cover four provinces of the country.
“It is phase two of the biggest ever oral vaccination campaign against cholera, and is scheduled to take place in 15 health districts in the four central provinces of the DRC from July 3 to July 8.
The second dose of vaccine confers lasting immunity against cholera, and is being targeted at 1,235,972 people over one year of age.
The five-day, door-to-door campaign will involve 2,632 vaccinators recruited mainly from local communities, whose job it will be to administer the oral cholera vaccine.
“They will also fill in vaccination cards and tally sheets, and compile a daily summary of the teams’ progress,’’ the organisation stated.
It said that mobilisers have also been engaged to alert the people of the presence of vaccinators in their communities.
The campaign was organised by the DRC’s Ministry of Health with support from WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC).
It is the second such campaign in the central region of the DRC.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, said: “This cholera vaccination campaign marks the intensification of our response in the DRC.
The Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, Dr Seth Berkley, assured that the vaccines would go a long way to bring cholera outbreaks under control.
Cholera is a highly contagious communicable disease transmitted via contaminated water or food. It causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration which must be treated immediately to avoid death.