‘Per­sonal hy­giene is first line of de­fence’

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Rumbidzai Mu­parutsa

THE pub­lic should prac­tice ba­sic per­sonal hy­giene as the first line of de­fence against cholera, health of­fi­cials have said.

Oral cholera vac­ci­na­tion rolled out by Govern­ment is a sec­ondary mea­sure to curb the dis­ease.

Govern­ment launched the vac­ci­na­tion cam­paign in Budiriro, Harare on Oc­to­ber 3, 2018 and an es­ti­mated 390 910 peo­ple have re­ceived a dose of the med­i­ca­tion to date.

Last week, World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion cholera con­trol ex­pert Dr Marc Poncin said vac­ci­na­tion worked handin-glove with good hy­giene.

“We en­cour­age the pub­lic to con­tinue drink­ing clean, safe wa­ter; wash fruits and veg­eta­bles with clean wa­ter be­fore con­sump­tion; eat food whilst hot; use the toi­lets and avoid open defe­ca­tion; and wash hands un­der clean run­ning wa­ter with soap af­ter us­ing the toi­let.

“Our aim is to pre­vent a sec­ond wave of cholera so the vac­ci­na­tion works hand-in -glove with good hy­giene.”

Present in­ter­ven­tions, Dr Marc said, gave lo­cal au­thor­i­ties head­room to come up with medium to long-term so­lu­tions to pre­vent fu­ture out­breaks.

Ac­cord­ing to WHO, a sin­gle dose of the vac­cine pro­vides im­mu­nity for six to 12 months, while the ad­min­is­tra­tion of a sec­ond dose length­ens the pro­tec­tion pe­riod to be­tween three and five years.

“The vac­cine should be ad­min­is­tered in two doses and the sec­ond dose should be given not later than six months af­ter the first dose. The sec­ond dose will be ad­min­is­tered be­fore March next year,” he said.

$2,6 mil­lion has been spent on vac­ci­na­tion, which is funded by Gavi — an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion founded in 2000 — with sup­port from WHO.

To date, there have been less than 10 cases of neg­a­tive re­ac­tion to the vac­cine, and the sec­ond phase of the drive be­gan last week and is ex­pected to end on Thurs­day.

Dr Marc said, “We are vac­ci­nat­ing in nine sub­urbs in Harare in the sec­ond phase. We have 80 teams and over 1 000 trained work­ers. We are also go­ing to vac­ci­nate 9 000 Harare prison in­mates and prison of­fi­cers.”

Vac­ci­na­tion against cholera does not pro­tect against any other di­ar­rhoeal dis­ease.

For Govern­ment to de­clare an end of the cholera out­break, no new in­fec­tions should be recorded for 14 con­sec­u­tive days.

The Health and Child Care Min­istry and WHO will be­gin ad­min­is­ter­ing 320 000 ty­phoid con­ju­gate vac­cines in Novem­ber.

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