The International Coordinating Group (ICG) has approved the release of 757 630 doses of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) for a 2-dose emergency vaccination campaign in Adamawa state. The initial batch of 378 815 doses of OCV was delivered to Nigeria on 22 June 2018 for the first round of the vaccination campaign while the second consignment of  vaccines will be released after successful implementation of the first round.

The vaccination campaign aims at containing the current outbreak of cholera, which has affected more than 1412 persons including 25 deaths in Mubi North, Mubi South, Maiha and Hong local government areas (LGAs) of Adamawa state.

“In view of the cumulative cases of cholera in Mubi North and Mubi South, the vaccination campaign is a step in the right direction to stop the outbreak from spreading to more LGAs. This was why the State government with technical support of WHO requested ICG to release oral cholera vaccine for a 2-dose vaccination exercise in Mubi North and Mubi South LGAs,” Adamawa state for Health Commissioner, Dr Fatima Atiku-Abubakar said.

The ICG endorsed the request for the emergency vaccination exercise on 14 June 2018, largely, due to the laboratory confirmation of an ongoing cholera transmission and the risk of spread and extension if not controlled. The ICG recommended, however, that recording of OCV doses in vaccination cards should be included in the implementation plan adding that registering OCV doses only in tally sheets is not enough in a two-dose strategy campaign.

An independent post-campaign coverage survey and definitive roles and responsibilities of the Ministries of Health and partners are also parts of the conditions from the ICG, which the Nigerian ministry of health consented to, on 14 June 2018.

“With the approval for the release of OCV by ICG and delivery, WHO, in collaboration with other partners will continue to work with Adamawa state health authorities at all levels to develop quality micro plans, implement and evaluate the vaccination campaigns to ensure that the outbreak is controlled,” Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Representative to Nigeria posited.

Since the confirmation of the ongoing transmission of cholera in parts of Adamawa state, WHO has been in the forefront of the response, managed cases in the cholera treatment centre at Mubi General Hospital, supported establishment of  the emergency operations centre (EOC) for partners’ coordination, rapid and concerted decision making and conducted house-to-house search for suspected cholera cases.

Furthermore, WHO trained and engaged more than 150 healthcare and ad hoc community health champions as well as regular government health workers who were hitherto on industrial action. These personnel are preforming various cholera outbreak response functions including house-to-house search for suspected cases of cholera, geo-mapping of affected areas to define most-at-risk areas for targeted response, delivery of cholera prevention messaging and hygiene promotion.

Additionally, house-to-house teams including hard-to-reach teams and community health champions are already making a difference by alerting people on the risks and prevention of cholera, supporting early detection of cases and promoting household hygiene. Collectively, the teams have sensitized more than 250,000 people on the dangers of cholera, how to prevent cholera infection and the importance of early reporting at the treatment center in the event of suspected diarrhea. With the geo-coordinate mapping by WHO personnel, more than 50 suspected cases found in 1 742 households have been referred to the cholera treatment center based on the open data kit (ODK) submissions alone.

For more information please visit WHO Africa.