The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said a cholera vaccination campaign will start in Mozambique next week. The vaccination campaign will be conducted in areas ravaged by Cyclone Idai. According to Africa News, the number of confirmed cholera cases in cyclone-ravaged Mozambique has climbed sharply to 139 as of Thursday.
Cyclone Idai, which smashed into the Mozambican port city of Beira on March 14, caused catastrophic flooding across three countries in southeast Africa. As of Wednesday, 713 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi had died in the tropical storm and in the heavy rains before it hit.
With rescue work still underway, tens of thousands of displaced people have been shifted to makeshift camps where relief efforts to control outbreaks of waterborne and infectious diseases are being carried out.
Notably, Mozambique has had regular Cholera outbreaks over the past five years. According to the WHO, about 2,000 people were infected in the last outbreak, which ended in February 2018.
David Wightwick, a senior member of the WHO’s response team in Beira, told reporters that seven clinics had been set up in Mozambique to treat cholera patients and two more are in process of
“We have 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccines which are coming in on Monday, and we will start a vaccination campaign as soon as possible next week,” Wightwick said.
He said the first objective is to control the outbreak warning though that there are other places that remain cut off.
It currently remains unconfirmed whether there had yet been any deaths from cholera in Mozambique.
Malawi and Zimbabwe were also badly hit by flooding and heavy rains in the leadup to Cyclone Idai. In Malawi, the government said arable and livestock farming had been badly affected and that irrigation infrastructure had been damaged.