Maputo — About 32,000 people received the oral vaccine against cholera in the central Mozambican city of Beira on Wednesday, the first day of the vaccination campaign, according to Health Minister Nazira Abdula, cited in Friday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais".
She thought this was a good start to the campaign and believed that the target would be met. The target is to vaccinate 884,000 people over the age of one in Beira, and in the districts of Nhamatanda, Dondo and Buzi.
On Thursday Abdula was working in Dondo, and witnessed lengthy queues at the vaccination posts. She also visited the Dondo health centre, where much of the roof had collapsed during cyclone Idai, which struck central Mozambique on 14 March.
Alongside the damaged health centre, the Spanish government has installed a field hospital, offering essential services during this emergency period. Abdula toured the field hospital and praised the speedy response of Mozambique's cooperation partners to the current crisis.
The cholera outbreak has now definitely spread to Buzi. According to the National Director of Medical Care, Ussene Issa, speaking to reporters on Thursday, so far six cholera cases have been diagnosed in the district. All were treated quickly and recovered.
The Mozambican relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) is continuing to identify isolated communities in the interior of Sofala province that are in need of food and other emergency aid.
Thus on Thursday, the locality of Macorococho, 62 kilometres from Nhamatanda town, received food supplies for the first time since the cyclone. It was only on Wednesday that the INGC identified Macorococho, and realised that there were 1,500 people here in need of aid. On Thursday, two helicopters of the Mozambican air force made four flights carrying aid into Macorococho.
The locality was isolated because the roads had been damaged in the cyclone. Nonetheless, the local school, although it was damaged in the storm, resumed classes a fortnight ago. The health post did not suffer any significant damage, but had run out of medicines.
A major concern of the health staff was to evacuate seriously ill patients. Until the helicopters arrived they had no means of taking a pregnant woman who needed specialist care to a reference hospital.
In the cyclone affected areas, teams remain on the ground identifying isolated communities who need urgent humanitarian assistance.