Phase 2 of the biggest ever oral vaccination campaign against cholera is being conducted between 3 to 8 July 2019 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
About 1,235,972 people over 1 year of age are targeted to receive the second dose of vaccine which confers lasting immunity against cholera.
The campaign organized by the ministry of health with support from WHO, Gavi- the vaccine alliance and the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) takes place at 15 health districts in the four central provinces of the DRC – Kasaï, Kasaï Oriental, Lomami and Sankuru.
The vaccination campaign is conducted to curb the serious cholera epidemic which resulted in 9154 presumed cases and 458 deaths in the 5 affected provinces in Kasaï region between January and December 2018.
1,224,331 people over 1 year of age were vaccinated during the first round in late December 2018.
The phase 2 campaign is a door-to-door campaign involving 2632 vaccinators recruited mainly from local communities.
In parallel, 583 community mobilizers have been selected to alert local people about the visit of vaccinators at their homes.
“WHO and our partners are working with national authorities to rollout the vaccine, which comes in addition to multiple interventions introduced since the beginning of the cholera epidemic, including sanitation and water quality control in the affected areas, many of which have little access to a safe water supply.”said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in the news release.
The vaccines have been provided from global cholera vaccine stocks managed by Gavi, This vaccination campaign will play a key role in bringing this cholera outbreak under control,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi.
In 2018 the DRC reported a cumulative total of 29,304 suspected cholera cases and more than 930 deaths (case-fatality rate 3.17%).
Since the start of 2019 and up to epidemiological week 23 (3-9 June), at least 12,247 suspected cases of cholera and 279 deaths (case-fatality rate 2.2%) have already been reported in 137 health districts in 20 of the 26 provinces of the DRC.
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 after only a few hours and to stop the disease from spreading on a massive scale throughout an environment at risk.