High risk districts in Somalia receive the 2nd dose of Oral Cholera Vaccine

News and Press Release
Originally published

Cholera hot spot districts in Banadir Region south Somalia have successfully concluded the second oral cholera vaccination campaign (OCV) in October 2017.

The campaign was implemented using the house to house vaccination strategy and mobilizing a total of 29 supervisors, over 20 monitors, and 196 social mobilizers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).

The strong social mobilization and community engagement were powerful tools that enabled the implementation of the vaccination campaign in the 11 targeted districts of the Region. One hundred forty nine trained vaccination teams of four members each were also deployed in target areas to administer the vaccine to the population.

The demand and acceptability for the oral cholera vaccine in Benadir Region districts were overwhelming especially in IDP camps and slums where the vaccination was implemented due to frequency of AWD and Cholera in these camps.

Hassan Nasir, a 34-year-old from Wadajir district came with his family to be vaccinated. The family- his wife and four children- was administered the first dose two weeks earlier. "I am still scared and do want my family to receive the second dose of the vaccine," said Hassan. "I saw quiet a number of the camp people vomiting and drying out because of cholera; looked like they are going to die.” He explained. “I get terrified when I hear about the disease, especially in the camp where health services are very limited. Takes long enough to get a referral to the nearest hospital," concluded Hassan.

WHO and local health authorities in the region have related the outbreak to critical cholera prevention and control measures like poor water quality, sanitation, and personal hygiene.

Ameen, a nine year old boy from Dayniile IDP camp is one of the first IDPs in the camp to receive his first oral vaccine dose two weeks ago. His mother was standing outside the family tent waiting for the vaccinators to come and give her son the second dose. She was very happy to see the vaccination teams moving around the camp to administer the vaccine. It gave her a feeling of comfort and security, she explained.

Somalia has been experiencing cholera outbreaks since a decade. As of November this year, a cumulative suspected cases of AWD/Cholera stood at 78,596 including 1159 deaths were reported from 55 districts in 19 regions of Somalia compared to 15621 cases including 531 deaths reporting during the same period of 2016.

As an integrated part of the current outbreak response strategy, WHO mobilized more than 2 million doses of oral cholera vaccines to be administered to vulnerable population in 11 districts in Somalia determined to be at high risk for further spread of the disease. To protect an individual from acquiring cholera, two doses of the vaccine were required to be given on two rounds separated by a minimum 14 days interval to complete the vaccination cycle.

The two AWD/Cholera vaccination rounds were made possible through generous contributions from the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), the Global Task Force for Cholera Control, and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).