The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed that the country was set to receive 9 million doses of the Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV).
WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Mulombo said this at the training of health professionals on the integration of OCV into emergency and preventive Cholera treatment in Abuja.
Mulombo explained that the expected vaccines would ensure the implementations of two campaigns in fourteen Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nine states of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He further stated that the expected vaccines would significantly mitigate the risk of an upsurge of cholera cases, especially during the rainy season.
He also disclosed that over 1.7 million persons were already vaccinated with two doses of OCV across Seven LGAs in Bauchi, Jigawa, Yobe and Zamfara.
“Working in line with the preparedness towards future campaigns, we believe that the recently approved GTFCC application for Nigeria with approximately 9million doses of OCV to implement two campaigns in 14 LGAs in 9 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, would significantly mitigate the risk of an upsurge of cholera cases during this raining season.
“However, we wish to further reiterate the need for the early allocation and shipment of these vaccines to ensure these vaccinations are carried out sooner than later”, he said.
He revealed that Nigeria had degraded its biggest Cholera outbreak which commenced in 2021 with over 100,000 suspected cases reported.
He therefore reiterated the need for early allocation and shipment of the vaccines to ensure vaccinations were timely.
He also reiterated the need the need for improved hygienic practices to prevent Cholera outbreaks.
“Cholera control efforts is a holistic one including more than just vaccination. The need to address issues around WASH remains critical in the long term.
“This brings to bear the need to improved coordination of cholera control efforts and ensure that clean and safe water as well as improve hygienic practices as highlighted in the Cholera control plans are implemented in a sustainable manner to ensure we achieve the desired goal.
“We are calling upon all member states to embrace the one health approach to respond to cholera outbreak,” he said.
In his remarks, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire commended WHO for the laudable and desirable initiative.
Ehanire described the OCV as a tool for prevention and control of cholera outbreaks, “which has become a recurrent seasonal public health challenge in many low and lower-middle-income countries, like ours, despite efforts at control.”
The Minister said that the traditional measures for cholera prevention and control have been to provide portable water and improve hygiene and sanitation, noting that the OCV was an additional tool in fighting cholera outbreaks in the country.
“Science has over the years, risen to the task, with the development of OCV, now certified as effective enough to be recommended for disease prevention and control.
“I therefore welcome this training as a prelude to equitable access to this vaccine and another step towards our goal of better health for all. I believe it will strengthen our health system by reducing, or even removing one more public health nuisance by vaccination,” Ehanire said.