Cholera vaccination campaign begins to protect Rohingyas


PV Desk : A massive cholera vaccination campaign began today to protect nearly one million Rohingyas and their host communities living in and around the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar aiming to prevent any potential outbreak during monsoon this year.

This is a second cholera vaccination campaign being held for the Rohingyas and their host communities. Earlier, 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccines were administered to the vulnerable population in two phases in October – November last year, a UNICEF press release said.

“This vaccination campaign is a part of the ongoing efforts of the government and the health sector partners to protect nearly one million people, including at least 135,000 Bangladeshis, who have been affected by the influx of Rohingyas since last year,” said Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

“Considering the water and sanitation conditions in the overcrowded camps and the increased risk of disease outbreaks in the monsoon, the health sector is taking all possible measures to prevent cholera and other water and vector borne diseases,” said Dr Bardan Jung Rana, WHO Representative to Bangladesh.

Around 245 mobile vaccination teams have been deployed to vaccinate all people over the age of one year in Rohingya camps and host communities in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas in Cox’s Bazar during the week-long campaign led by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, with support of World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and icddr,b and other partners.

“We have managed to prevent the cholera outbreak since the first campaign in October last year, but flood water, heavy storms and landslides in the monsoon could damage water and sanitation facilities in the camps, increasing the risk of an outbreak of this dangerous disease,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.

The oral cholera vaccines have been made available through the Inter- Agency Coordinating Group with members from WHO, UNICEF, M,decins sans FrontiSres and International Federation of the Red Cross. The vaccines and supplies are financed by Gavi, the vaccine alliance.

Both WHO and UNICEF have prepositioned life-saving supplies to ensure rapid response to any outbreak.

The WHO-led health sector is supporting setting up diarrhea treatment centres, including five supported by UNICEF and managed by icddr,b.