BEIRA, Mozambique, April 2, 2019 /CNW/ - Nearly 900,000 doses of the cholera vaccine, procured by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), arrived in Beira, Mozambique, on Tuesday afternoon and the vaccination campaign will begin imminently. The vaccines are funded by Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.
The national Health Ministry has confirmed 1,052 cases of cholera in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. The large majority of these (959 cases) are in Beira where one death has also been confirmed, followed by Nhamatanda (87 cases). The disease is spreading rapidly.
"The procurement of vaccines is one of several approaches UNICEF and its partners are taking to curb the spread of cholera, along with re-establishing water treatment systems and distributing water purification products. Humanitarian teams are acting quickly to raise awareness in communities about symptoms and prevention methods, including hygiene practices and the important need for vaccinations, particularly in the current conditions which include stagnant water and overcrowding in temporary shelters," said Michel Le Pechoux, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Mozambique.
Five-hundred beds in seven cholera treatment centres across the affected area have been set up by UNICEF, WHO and partners, along with the Provincial Directorate of Health.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. It is largely caused by the ingestion of contaminated food and water. The burden of cholera is disproportionately carried by children and vulnerable groups.
UNICEF is ramping up its response to affected children and families in Beira, where thousands of people are affected by Cylcone Idai, the worst natural disaster to hit southern Africa in at least two decades.
Photographs of vaccines being offloaded are available here.
UNICEF is the world's leading humanitarian organization focused on children. We work in the most challenging areas to provide protection, healthcare and immunizations, education, safe water and sanitation and nutrition. As part of the United Nations, our unrivaled reach spans more than 190 countries and territories, ensuring we are on the ground to help the most disadvantaged children. While part of the UN system, UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations to finance our live-saving work. Please visit unicef.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
SOURCE UNICEF Canada
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