Oral cholera vaccine
Nsanje, March 25: The Ministry of Health is expected to embark on an Oral Cholera Vaccine campaign targeting 160,000 people in the flood hit Nsanje district.
Ministry of Health Epidemiologist Settie Kanyanda disclosed the development in an interview Tuesday on the sidelines of a District Executive Committee meeting in Nsanje.
He said the ministry had targeted Nsanje because it was prone to the cholera outbreak.
“Nsanje district is experiencing more cases of cholera as compared to other districts. We feel that the Oral vaccine is a preventive measure to the attacks," he stated.
Kanyada assured communities in Nsanje that the vaccine would make a difference in the fight against cholera as it works for five years.
“The Shanchol vaccine which will be given in two doses with interval between 2 to 6 weeks is one of the oral cholera vaccine prequalified by World Health Organisation (WHO) in September 2011 for use by member countries. It is a bivalent whole cell killed oral cholera vaccine with an efficacy of 65percent for five years,” he explained.
With the limited resources available to the ministry, Kanyanda said the exercise will only be administered in Nsanje targeting 160, 000 people which is half the district's population projected at 280, 000.
“The vaccine will be administered to all 100, 000 to 160, 000 people in the district with ages from one year and above living in camps and surrounding communities. We cannot afford to provide the vaccine to the whole population because of limited resources."
“This exercise has been supported by the World Health Organization and the International Vaccine Institute of Korea. However, we are appealing to other partners to come in and assist in the course,” added Kanyanda.
He also challenged people in the lower shire district to continue exercising good hygiene practices if they were to be safe from typhoid and other diarrhea diseases.
“World Health Organization recommends that vaccination should be used as a tool to control cholera however provision of clean water and adequate sanitation remain the mainstays of cholera control,” clarified Kanyanda.
As of Monday, 23rd March, 2015, Nsanje district had recorded 137 cases of cholera with two deaths, according to District Medical Officer, Dr. Yamikani Mastala.
The Oral vaccine exercise first dose will commences on March 31 and ends on April 4, 2014.