Bauchi, 09 May 2018 - The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners are supporting the Bauchi State Government to immunize 600,000 people against cholera.
The oral cholera vaccination drive is part of efforts to control an ongoing cholera outbreak in the state. The drive will use vaccines funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. It will target people in 15 most affected wards in Bauchi Local Government Area (LGA)
The outbreak is concentrated mainly in the Bauchi LGA, the state capital, which accounts for 88% of the cases reported and 76% of all cholera related deaths in the state. Two vaccination rounds are planned. The first round began 8 May and will conclude 13 May.
Since the outbreak began on 27 February 2018, the Bauchi State Ministry of Health has detected more than 2 348 suspected cases. So far 21 people have died, and 25 samples were confirmed by laboratory culture testing. People living in low income areas within the city and those in the rural areas with poor access to clean water are the most-affected by the outbreak.
Within Bauchi LGA, most cases rely on drinking water from water vendors who fetch water from untreated sources. Cases in rural areas must rely on contaminated water sources after most hand pumps and wells are dried up. Evidence from the incidence rate suggests about 376,489 of the population in the LGA aged 15 years and above are at risk for cholera.
“The State government, supported by WHO and other partners, is working jointly to control the outbreak through intensified surveillance for the early detection of suspected cases, improving water supplies and building sanitary latrines in affected communities,” said Commissioner for Health Dr. Zuwaira Ibrahim Hassan. “The State Government is also providing oral rehydration therapy for the affected people and also putting out massive cholera prevention messages for the general public.”
WHO is coordinating the health sector response through enhanced surveillance, training of health workers and transportation of samples to laboratory.
“We have trained more than 500 health workers, printed and distributed case definitions to health facilities,” said Dr Adamu Ningi, WHO State Coordinator. “We have also concluded plans with the state to conduct a mass cholera campaign in the affected LGAs.”