WHO Supports Borno Oral Cholera Vaccination Campaigns in 4 LGAs

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri
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Borno state government in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners are carrying out a 5-day OCV campaign in four selected local government areas of the state from 28th November to 2nd December 2018.

The exercise is being conducted by teams of mobilizers comprising of seven members of two card recorders, two vaccinators, two mobilizers and one town crier that has been going house to house, street to street in selected communities of Mai Sandari Ward of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, MMC under the supervision of Dr Abana Kolo Mbalalla who is the WHO Cluster Consultant in charge of MMC, Abadam and Nganzai LGAs for the OCV campaigns.

Speaking to journalists Friday at the Fatima Sheriff Comprehensive Healthcare Center Bulunkutu Dala Area, Mai Sandari Ward, Dr. Mbalala said the exercise had commenced since Wednesday, 28th November 2018 and expected to finish in 5 days on Sunday, 2nd December 2018.

According to him, all the relevant community and religious leaders as well as households heads and other relevant stakeholders have been contacted and mobilized ahead of the campaign period while same mobilization will continue till end of the 5 days OCV campaign exercise with a target of 323,875 population, both children and adults expected to be orally vaccinated from 3 areas of Mai Sandari Ward of the MMC which comprises of Bolori 2A, Bolori 2B and Mai Sandari A.

He added that so far, the campaign has not faced any challenge and complaint and negative respond from the parents or teachers or children and other stakeholders while the campaign was impressive, acclaimed and encouraging as no case of molestation, rejection or harassment has been recorded in any part of the ward during the exercise.

Dr. Abana further said that the oral cholera vaccination (OCV) was for the age of one and above irrespective of sex while a target of 323, 875 population was expected to be orally vaccinated at the end of the exercise from the Mai Sandari Ward of the MMC.

He said the reason why the campaign was being carried out in these areas was a preventive measures following the epidemiology data or reports from the areas after the past cholera outbreak in the state and its control while surveillance shown that still few cases of Acute Water Diarrhea (AWD) were recorded in these areas which informed the OCV campaigns by the Borno state government in collaboration with WHO in some LGAs of the state

The Director, Diseases Control, Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA) , Alhaji Abbagana Abiso told newsmen at the Fatima Sheriff Comprehensive Healthcare Center Mai Sandari Ward Bulunkutu during the exercise that the campaign was being carried out in four LGAs of Jere, MMC, Ngala and Kala Balge on OCV while in other LGAs, Yellow fever preventive measures were being administered still with the support of WHO and UNICEF.

He said, "for OCV, it is only in 4 LGAs and we have recorded tremendous successes and positive responses from the areas as adequate mobilization was carried out and community leaders were also involved and contacted earlier to enlighten, mobilize and educate their subjects on the campaign and benefits attached to the OCV Campaign Programme.

The director added that a total of 463,190 target population from the four LGAs were expected to be orally vaccinated from the age of year one and above within the five days scheduled campaign, pointing out that, "in each of the LGAs affected, not all wards are affected. Only the selected wards affected in the LGAs will be covered by the campaign."

Abbagana noted also that the Borno state government role in the ongoing campaigns was Coordinating partner of the exercise while WHO, UNICEF, MSF and others were supporting partners.

He added that the vaccination was meant for 4 LGAs without any problem but the only challenge encountered so far was adults were not coming out for the OCV as expected because people were used to polio immunization where only children were immunized.

However, the director said, the community leaders and residents were being mobilized and enlightened through the house to house mobilizers, town criers and media while appealing to the people to get vaccinated.

"Because cholera is a deadly disease. People should take precaution, be clean, sanitize their environment, eat and drink healthy by washing and cleaning their hands before eating always and after going to toilet as well as boil water from the stream or river and avoid open defecations among others", Abiso said.