Nigeria begins nearly 1 million vaccinations to halt cholera outbreak
Health officials say they’re planning to vaccinate nearly a million people in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state amid a cholera outbreak that has claimed at least 40 lives in the past month.
The Nigerian government, working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, said Monday that health workers hope to deliver 915,000 doses of the oral cholera vaccine to everyone over the age of 1 year in the next few days. Their efforts are focused on the hard-hit Muna Garage camp for the internally displaced near Maiduguri, as well as the Jere, Monguno and Dikwa local government areas.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, head of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said all partners are supporting the Borno State Ministry of Health “in leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the current cholera outbreak in some parts of Borno state is contained shortly.”
Through Saturday, more than 2,600 suspected cholera cases have been reported since the first case was confirmed in mid-August, WHO said in a statement. Severe rains and flooding, coupled with the lack of safe water and sanitation and the close conditions in Borno’s IDP camps, have contributed to the outbreak.
The Doctors Without Borders organization said earlier this month that the Muna Garage camp was partly flooded, spiking the risk of cholera. Nigerian officials say 27 states were affected by flooding that displaced at least 100,000 people.
A similar effort has been under way in Sierra Leone, where a landslide and massive flooding in August – and another round of rains in early September – left 1,000 people dead and thousands more displaced.