Medicine

Vaccines finally arrive to fight rapidly spreading cholera outbreak in Mozambique

Vaccines finally arrive to fight rapidly spreading cholera outbreak in Mozambique

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.

Health officials have said that children, who are at the highest risk of dying from cholera, will get priority.

Health authorities here on Wednesday launched a six-day mass vaccination campaign to prevent the spread of cholera that killed at least three people with most cases reported in the cyclone-ravaged port city of Beira.

"Thanks to the receding floodwaters we hope to reach 1.2 million people in the coming week with food assistance", said WFP spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel.

Described as the worst natural disaster to hit Mozambique, the cyclone unleashed hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused death and destruction across the southeastern coastal African country triggering an instant humanitarian crisis.

Assistance is also being sent to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

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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. About 2,000 people were infected in the last outbreak, which ended in February 2018.

To forestall a major epidemic, WHO is supporting the ministry of health to coordinate the oral cholera vaccination campaign, including working with partners to ensure an appropriate cold chain storage and provide logistical support.

"The key thing is to make sure that people can rapid treatment and clean water and sanitation".

Nearly 900,000 doses of the cholera vaccine arrived in Beira yesterday.

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

World Health Organization said since the stockpile was launched in 2013, millions of doses every year have helped tackle outbreaks across the globe.


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