Phase 2 of the biggest ever oral vaccination campaign against cholera is scheduled to take place from 3-8 July 2019 in 15 health districts in the four central provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – Kasaï, Kasaï Oriental, Lomami et Sankuru.
The second dose of vaccine confers lasting immunity against cholera, and is being targeted at 1 235 972 people over 1 year of age. The 5-day, door-to-door campaign will involve 2632 vaccinators recruited mainly from local communities, whose job it is to administer the oral cholera vaccine, fill in vaccination cards and tally sheets, and compile a daily summary of the teams’ progress.
Their job is to alert local people that vaccinators will visit their homes. They will use loudspeakers to spread the message, particularly in the early evening.
The campaign is organized by the Ministry of Health with technical, logistic and financial support from WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC).
It is the second such campaign in this central region of the DRC. 1 224 331 people over 1 year of age were vaccinated during the first round in late December 2018.
The purpose of the vaccination campaign is to contain the serious epidemic which resulted in 9154 presumed cases and 458 deaths (case-fatality rate of 5%) in the 5 affected provinces in Kasaï region between January and December 2018.
“This vaccination campaign will play a key role in bringing this cholera outbreak under control,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “The DRC is currently going through an unprecedented combination of deadly epidemics, with Ebola and measles outbreaks also causing untold misery across the country. It is vital that the global effort to control these outbreaks continues to receive support: we cannot allow this needless suffering to continue.”
“We must not forget that oral cholera vaccine works in conjunction with other effective prevention measures such as improvement of sanitary conditions, individual and collective hygiene including regular hand-washing (with soap) after going to the bathroom or before meals, and lobbying authorities to improve access to drinking water.”