Maputo — A campaign to vaccinate people against cholera begins today in the district of Cuamba, in the northern Mozambican province of Niassa.
During the campaign, a hundred health workers and 140 volunteers will administer the oral vaccine to 180,000 people in the province. The campaign will take place over the next month and be completed long before the beginning of the rainy season which is linked to the spread of the disease.
Speaking to journalists in the provincial capital Lichinga, the province's chief medical officer Ramos Mboane explained that the first dose will be administered this week. He revealed that the cost of the operation will be 7.6 million meticais (about 131,000 US dollars at current exchange rates).
Mboane noted, "we chose to hold the campaign in the municipality of Cuamba because it is a part of the country that is vulnerable to endemic diseases. Over the last five years, the area has had three outbreaks of cholera".
The health authorities have mobilised personnel and resources to carry out the campaign. They have organised for vehicles, including 20 motorcycles, to be available for transporting staff and equipment. In addition, volunteers have received relevant training.
Mboane expected there to be an influx of citizens into the vaccination posts around Cuamba over the next few days to receive the first doses.
The vaccine was first introduced into Mozambique in 2016 and administered in a campaign in the city of Nampula. The World Health Organisation (WHO) made available 400,000 doses of the oral vaccine, enough for 200,000 people (since, for effective immunisation, each person must receive two doses).
WHO recommends that the vaccination is given to people at a high risk of getting the disease, along with other hygiene measures.
The oral cholera vaccine is 85 per cent effective in the first six months. The vaccine is safe and cost-effective and can give protection for up to five years.
As a result of the campaign, during the last rainy season there were only 231 registered cases of cholera in Nampula city with no deaths recorded.
Last year, the vaccination campaign was held in Tete city with financial support from South Korea who supplied the vaccines.