The Ministry of Health and Child Care is launching a vaccination campaign against cholera in cyclone hit areas as a proactive, preventative measure.
The oral cholera vaccine (OCV) campaign is targeting 487,825 people in the two districts of Chimanimani and Chipinge.
Funded by Gavi and the Vaccine Alliance, the vaccine will be administered in two rounds for full immunity with the second dose given approximately two weeks after the first.
“We are on high alert to detect cholera in the Cyclone Idai affected areas, and to further protect the people, we have decided to introduce the oral cholera vaccine as a preventive measure in the affected areas, while at the same time promoting good hygiene,” said Dr Obadiah Moyo, Minister of Health and Child Care.
Chimanimani and Chipinge were hit by the worst tropical Cyclone in years. The cyclone left a trail of destruction including water distribution systems in the targeted districts. It also severely damaged pumping stations and boreholes in areas where sanitation coverage was already poor, putting children and families at risk of waterborne and food-borne diseases, including cholera.
“The campaign is a preventive move to reduce the risk of a cholera outbreak, and UNICEF has been working with civil society partners and communities to raise public awareness in advance of the campaign,” said UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, Laylee Moshiri.
“This massive campaign is one of many examples where we join hands with partners to help the government strengthen the resilience of communities in emergency situations by working to prevent additional emergencies from occurring,” said Dr Alex Ntale Gasasira, WHO Representative for Zimbabwe.
While Gavi is supporting the operational costs of the campaign, the stockpile of the vaccine is managed by the International Coordinating Group, which includes WHO, UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Médecins Sans Frontières.