Geneva: The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said it’s supporting Zambia in launching a vaccination campaign in the African country to help one million people against cholera.
The campaign was launched on Wednesday to vaccinate residents of Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, against cholera.
Two million doses of oral cholera vaccine from the Gavi-funded global stockpile were delivered to the southern African country in January, enough to immunize one million people, Xinhua reported.
According to Zambia’s health authority, the campaign will bring the life-saving vaccine to the people who need it most.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated.
Since the start of the current outbreak in Zambia from early October 2017, the country’s health authority has reported a total of 2,672 cases, with Lusaka alone accounting for 2,558 cases. Of the 63 deaths countrywide, 58 were from Lusaka.
While sporadic cases of cholera are regular occurrences in Zambia during the five-month rainy season, the number of cases this year has exceeded the average annual caseload.
The WHO is currently working with the Zambia National Public Health Institute to address the underlying causes of the cholera outbreak, including clean water provision, sanitation and health education on personal hygiene.
The agency is also helping authorities to track down cases, treat cholera patients and provide community health education.
The WHO recommends that vaccination against cholera be considered in emergencies and other high-risk scenarios, as planning is underway to vaccinate a further one million people living in known cholera hotspots across the country later this year.