Sudan completes the first round of an oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaign in Blue Nile and Sennar states. In the first ten months of 2019, OCHA Sudan processed US$75 million through the CERF and the SHF, assisting thousands of people across the country. Sudan Federal Ministry of Health reports 332 cholera cases; 888 dengue fever cases; 248 rift valley fever cases; and 56 chikungunya cases in the country as of 30 October 2019. Sudan hosts the largest South Sudanese refugee population in the region, with an estimated 860,000 reported in the country as of 30 September 2019.
On 23 October 2019, the World Health Organization announced the successful completion of the first round of the oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaign in eight high-risk localities in Blue Nile and Sennar states. The oral cholera vaccines have been mobilized by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) through coordination with the International Cholera Coordination Group (ICG). The ICG manages the global stockpile of oral cholera vaccine which was created as a tool to help control cholera epidemics.
The first round of the campaign was launched by FMoH, and partners on 11 October 2019. The vaccine was administered to above one year of age population through fixed sites and mobile teams in in the targeted areas. Evening house-to-house visits were conducted by the vaccination teams of the State Ministry of Health (SMoH) teams to cover the male population who were busy at work during daytime.
“Two doses of vaccine are required for an individual to be protected,” said Dr. Akram Ali Altoum, Federal Minister of Health during a field visit to Singa locality in Sennar State. “The campaign will be followed by a second round of doses in a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks interval to complete the vaccination,” he added. “For such a campaign to be effective, it is vital that a second dose is administered,” the Minister added.
The campaign is targeting an estimated 1.65 million people (1 year and older) with 3.3 million doses of oral cholera vaccine—two doses each. This is the second time Sudan has carried out an OCV campaign to the country. The first cholera vaccination campaign in Sudan was in 2015 targeting South Sudanese refugees entering the country, due to an outbreak in South Sudan. FMoH declared an outbreak of cholera on 8 September 2019 after four out of the six samples taken from Blue Nile State, tested positive for Vibreo cholera by the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) in Khartoum. The outbreak spread to neighbouring Sennar and Khartoum states. The total number of reported cases as of 29 October was 330, including 12 deaths.
Health partners have deployed staff to affected localities to support FMoH in cholera response and to facilitate the logistics of the vaccination campaign in affected areas. Health education and awareness-raising in affected communities are key components to ensuring the successful implementation of the OCV campaign.
As of the fifth day of the campaign, the cumulative coverage reached was 97.4 per cent in Sennar and 78 per cent in Blue Nile. The campaign was extended for an additional two days to reach people missed in targeted localities in both states. Additional OCV doses have be requested from the ICG to cover the four newly affected localities in Sennar and Khartoum states.
Access to safe water, sanitation and personal hygiene will continue to be the critical cholera prevention and control measures. Cholera vaccination is a safe and effective additional tool that can be used under the right conditions to supplement existing priority cholera control measures, not to replace, them. This campaign has been made possible with the generous contribution from Gavi and the ICG.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).