WHO: Haiti cholera vaccine will prevent majority of severe cases

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A girl opens a hygiene kit distributed in a cholera-affected area of Haiti. Photo: UNICEF/Roger LeMoyne

A huge cholera vaccination campaign has begun in Haiti where there's been a spike in suspected cases of the disease since Hurricane Matthew struck the island on 4 October.

Focusing on the worst affected areas and with the help of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, medical workers want to reduce infection and deaths from the disease, and to stop it spreading.

The Caribbean island is still reeling from an earthquake in 2010 that killed more than 220,000 people.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The UN says that there have been at least 1,000 suspected cholera cases among children in the past month alone.

Now, nurses, health workers and even town criers have been called in to help vaccinate 800,000 people in Haiti.

They've set to work in 16 communes in the departments of Sud and Grand’Anse, the areas most affected by Hurricane Mathew, which made landfall a month ago.

The Category Four storm caused flash floods and mudslides in Haiti; the death toll is estimated at nearly 550 people.

The single, oral cholera vaccine from UN partner the GAVI alliance is expected to prevent between 60 and 70 per cent of severe cases of cholera – a disease that causes acute diarrhoea and can kill within hours.

Though welcome, the vaccination campaign alone is not enough to control cholera.

For that to happen, Haiti's government and humanitarian organizations have insisted on the importance of access to safe drinking water.

They've also urged people to observe simple hand hygiene and food washing measures before eating.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’05″






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