Thousands vaccinated against cholera in BaidoaPhoto | The cholera vaccine is new to Somalia/Jama Jofane/Ergo
(ERGO) - More than 200,000 people have received the oral cholera vaccination in Baidoa, the main town in southern Somalia’s Bay region.
Cholera has been spreading in parts of Somalia since January, in the wake of the severe drought.
The exercise began at Baidoa general hospital and continued to public places and IDP camps as well as people’s homes around the town.
Dr Yusuf Barre Mohamed, the coordinator of the Somali ministry of health in Bay region, told Radio Ergo that the campaign, carried out by the health ministries at federal and state level in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), was a success.
He said only 11,206 people of the 224,000 targeted were reached. This was due to some people refusing to be vaccinated, as well as some wastage of vaccine drops that normally occurs during the vaccination process.
A sensitization campaign ahead of the vaccination explained the dangers of cholera.
“We used vehicles fitted with loudspeakers and sent messages via radio stations. We also trained teams to visit people in their homes,” Dr Yusuf said.
The second phase of the vaccination is set for 21-28 May. Double vaccination gives an 85 per cent chance of being safe from cholera in the next five years.
Sixty four per cent of displaced people living in IDP camps in Baidoa town. The ministry of health of South West administration has requested extra vaccine to target the remaining people in the camps. There are an estimated 157,000 displaced people in Baidoa and its surroundings.
Sadia Sayid Ali, her husband and four children were all vaccinated in ADC2 IDP camp. Sadia was worried that her children might get infected as her two-year-old son had been admitted to a hospital twice with diarrhoea. “The youth carrying out the vaccination exercise told us that those who take the vaccination would not get cholera. It is a dangerous disease,” she said.
Habibo Ibrahim Isak fled from Qansahdere district and lives with her nine children in ADC2 camp. She was in Baidoa hospital with two of her children suffering from diarrhoea when the vaccinators reached her. “It would be very dangerous if we get cholera while we are in this kind of situation so I decided we should take the vaccination. I also told my sister to allow the rest of my children to be vaccinated in the camp,” Habibo said.
The vaccination exercise was also carried out in Mogadishu, Beletweyne and Kismayo.
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