An “unprecedented” response to a spate of cholera outbreaks across Africa is under way but vaccinations alone will not be enough, UN health experts and partner agencies said on Monday.
Between now and June, some two million people will benefit from an inoculation drive in Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, South Sudan and Nigeria, led by state health ministries and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that’s transmitted through dirty water or food; active transmission of the virus has been reported in at least 12 areas in sub-Saharan Africa, and it is endemic in nearly 50 countries globally.
Yemen is on that list, and a new cholera vaccination drive is planned there after last year’s outbreak saw more than one million suspected cases of the disease and over 2,300 associated deaths.
Dr Michael Ryan from WHO’s Emergency Preparedness and Response team, told Daniel Johnson that effective as vaccines are against cholera, it is just as important to improve people’s access to water and sanitation.