Beira: Nearly 900,000 doses of cholera vaccine procured by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) have arrived in Beira, Mozambique, officials confirmed.
Funded by the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, the doses will be used to immediately start a vaccination campaign.
Mozambique's Ministry of Health has confirmed 1,052 cases of cholera in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. The vast majority of these (959 cases) are in Beira where one death has also been confirmed, followed by Nhamatanda (87 cases). The disease is spreading rapidly, according to authorities.
Michel Le Pechoux, the Deputy Representative of UNICEF Mozambique, said, “The procurement of vaccines is one of several approaches UNICEF and its partners are taking to curb the spread of cholera, along with re-establishing water treatment systems and distributing water purification products.
“Humanitarian teams are acting quickly to raise awareness in communities about symptoms and prevention methods, including hygiene practices and the important need for the vaccinations, particularly in the current conditions which include stagnant water and overcrowding in temporary shelters,” Le Pechoux added.
Five hundred beds in seven cholera treatment centres across the affected area have been set up by UNICEF, WHO, the Provincial Directorate of Health and other partners.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. It is largely caused by the ingestion of contaminated food and water.
UNICEF is ramping up its response to affected children and families in Beira, where thousands of people are affected by Cylcone Idai, the worst natural disaster to hit southern Africa in at least two decades.