Health Care

Massive cholera vaccine planned for cyclone-ravaged Mozambique

Massive cholera vaccine planned for cyclone-ravaged Mozambique”

Almost 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.

Around 500 cases were reported on Sunday, with that number shooting up to 1,052 by Monday evening. It can kill within hours but is relatively easy to treat.

A vaccination campaign has been initiated by World Health Organisation and is supposed to start by Wednesday as 900,000 doses of Cholera vaccines are due to arrive in the city. The vast majority of these (959 cases) are in Beira where one death has also been confirmed, followed by Nhamatanda (87 cases).

The disease is easily treated with an oral rehydration solution or intravenous fluids in severe cases, but health workers say the sooner a person receives treatment, the better.

China's rescue team donated disaster relief equipment to health authorities of Mozambique on Tuesday in Beira, central province of Sofala, which was hit hardest by the devastating tropical cyclone Idai.

The acute diarrhoeal disease has been spreading in the hard-hit city of Beira and its half-million residents since the outbreak was declared last week.

U.S. Africa Command has conducted at least 30 humanitarian flights, delivering more than 120 tons of food and supplies to Mozambique, where a multinational relief effort is underway after a cyclone caused catastrophic damage in the region, military officials said.

Cholera was first reported in one of the city's poorest and most crowded neighbourhoods, Munhava.

Scores of thousands of people in the region have no access to clean water and cholera cases are now reported outside Beira. It is largely caused by the ingestion of contaminated food and water. A second round of the vaccine would be needed after several weeks' time for stronger protection, according to the medical charity Doctors Without Borders.

The overall cyclone death toll in Mozambique has risen to 518. The number has been called very preliminary and the real toll may never be known, with some people quickly buried or washed away.

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