Jigawa State, WHO fight outbreak with oral cholera vaccine
Dutse, 26 October, 2021 - Having survived the ongoing cholera outbreak in Jigawa State, Mallam Saleh Magaji Baranda, a father of 11 and a farmer from Baranda village in Dutse Local Government Area (LGA or District), has been vaccinated with the Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) at the recently concluded cholera vaccination campaign in the state.
After his near-death experience, Mallam Baranda had no doubts about receiving the vaccine during recent launch of the vaccination campaign. He now advocates for people in his community to get vaccinated against the disease.
“I have been talking to the people in my community to receive the vaccine. I call on my brothers and sisters, farmers, fishermen, traders and everyone to turn out and be vaccinated against cholera so that we are all protected from this deadly disease”, he said.
Narrating his experience, Mallam Baranda said, the night before he fell ill, he had five to six bouts of watery stool and had also refused to heed to his wife’s advice to seek medical treatment because he did not want to miss the first day of the farming season. Going to the farm at the break of dawn, he could barely achieve anything, as he was too weak and tired. Hardly had he began ploughing the land when he fainted and was taken to the Infectious Disease Hospital in Duste, where he was admitted and treated for cholera in the State’s Cholera Isolation ward.
As of the second week of October, over 90,908 suspected cases, as well as, over 3,000 deaths have been reported across 32 states of the Federation since the beginning of the year. In Jigawa, reports for the same period indicates over 10,000 suspected cholera cases and almost 500 deaths reported so far. Twenty-two of the 27 LGAs are currently battling with cases of cholera. The state capital, Duste, then Birnin Kudu and Hadejia, are the worst hit by the current outbreak.
In response to the outbreak, the Jigawa State Government, in partnership with World Health Organization (WHO), is conducting a five-day vaccination campaign, targeting almost a million people, aged above 1 year with the OCV. And as of the end of day 4 of the campaign, 702,885 persons had already been vaccinated.
In collaboration with the state agencies and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), WHO supported the collation and submission of a request to the Inter-Agency Coordination Group (ICG) for cholera vaccinations. Details of the request include approval and release of over 3.5 million doses of OCV as well as operational cost for two rounds of reactive vaccination exercise across six LGAs in three states, of which three are in Jigawa State.
Through the support from the ICG and the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC), the reactive vaccination campaign was flagged-off in one of the worst affected settlements or community (Baranda village) in Duste, on 22 October 2021 by the Emir of Duste, His Royal Highness Dr Nuhu Muhammadu Sanusi.
The first round conducted 21 – 26 October 2021, targeted over 900,000 people, while the second round of the vaccination is slated for 20 - 24 November, 2021. This is so, because two doses of the vaccine offered at least two weeks apart confirms full protection for 2 - 3 years.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony, the WHO National Surveillance Officer/Vaccine-Preventable Disease (VPD) focal point, Dr. Terna Nomhwange, emphasized the importance of the vaccine and its safety. He pledged WHO continuous support to the states in ensuring health security and response to vaccine-preventable diseases.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Agency in the state, Dr Kabir Ibrahim, assured residents that the government is responding to the outbreak through multiple approaches, including cases management, risk communication, etc.
Commending WHO and other partners for the support, he said, “we received doses (of vaccine) from the Federal Government through WHO and everyone from above the age of one to adulthood is qualified to take the vaccine”.
Similarly, the Emir, in his welcome address said, “it is saddening that Nigeria is still combatting the disease”.
He recalled that the disease was first reported in his locality in 1968 after the yearly religious pilgrimage.
“We still have a lot to do regarding personal and environmental hygiene and desist from open defecation. On behalf of the emirate and state, I am grateful to WHO and other partners for supporting the state during crucial times of need. You have always been supportive of us in emergencies and will forever be grateful to you for the timely support as always” he said.
A similar vaccination response has been completed in Bauchi LGA of Bauchi State, with over 700,000 persons vaccinated in July and almost 800,000 persons vaccinated in August 2021, with the first and second doses of the vaccine. WHO has continued to support all states in its response to the outbreak through an Incident Management System (IMS), with funding provided for implementation of an Incident Action Plan (IAP) and deployment of technical assistance across all affected states.
As part of the control process, a hot spot mapping has also been completed with plans for pre-emptive vaccinations against cholera across selected LGAs in the coming months. This preemptive vaccination will be supported by the GTFCC.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. Cholera outbreaks have become a yearly occurrence in Nigeria and remains a threat to public health. It affects both children and adults and has led to many avoidable deaths over the years.
Dr Jean Baptiste Anne Eudes; Email: jeana [at] who.int; Tel: +234 813 173 6281
Dr Nomhwange Terna; Email: nomhwanget [at] who.int; Tel: +234 803 787 1896