The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it will in partnership with the Nigerian Government vaccinate people over the age of one years in Borno against cholera outbreak.
Dr Wondi Alemu, the WHO Representative in Nigeria, said in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday that the vaccination was expected to target over 915,000 people in the state.
Alemu said to achieve this Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of developing countries and donor governments in collaboration with WHO have delivered 915,005 doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine to the country.
He said the organisations were working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Borno Ministry of Health to make the vaccine available free-of-cost to affected populations.
Alemu said the vaccination which started on Sept. 18, would last for the next few days.
He said the campaign would take place at the Muna Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Maiduguri as well as Jere, Monguno and Dikwa local government areas of the state.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria through the NCDC and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in collaboration with the WHO, UNICEF and other partners are all supporting the Borno ministry of health.
“We would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the current cholera outbreak in some parts of Borno state is contained shortly.
“The Government at all levels is working closely with partners to improve the sanitation situation, conducting hygiene promotion and disinfection of the affected areas where the campaign will take place including the Maiduguri Municipal Council.
“Following heavy rainfall and lack of access to safe water, more than 2,600 suspected cholera cases have been reported in Borno.
“As at September 16, more than 40 deaths have been recorded since the first case was confirmed in mid-August.
“The majority of cases have been detected in the Muna IDP camp on the outskirts of Borno state’s capital Maiduguri which houses 20,000 people who have fled the Boko Haram conflict.
“The number of suspected cholera cases has also increased dramatically in Dikwa and Monguno areas in the past few weeks,” Alemu said.
He said that this led the International Coordinating Group (ICG) for Vaccine Provision to send cholera vaccines from the global stockpile to the country.
According to Alemu, thousands of people in these camps have already left their homes to flee violence and terror; they now find themselves at risk of cholera.
Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said in the statement that the vaccines would play a vital role in slowing the spread of the disease.
Berkley said it would also buy valuable time to put the right water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in place to stop the root causes of the outbreak.
Alemu said WHO and partners were already making a difference by alerting people of the risks of cholera, supporting the early detection of cases, treating cases and taking other steps to end the outbreak.
He said that the organisation was focusing on delivering a single dose to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.
He said that the organisation and its partners hoped to address the outbreak within the shortest time in order to move forward in addressing the myriad of other pressing health needs in the state.