AS CHOLERA VACCINATION KICKS OFF, LET’S HELP IT GO
By Malek Arol Dhieu (Guest)
As the national Ministry of Health is set to roll out a cholera vaccination drive in Unity State, commencing it with Rubkona County and later involving 19 counties severely affected by floods in South Sudan, the citizens should be all sensitized to respond positively to voices calling for vaccination. Cholera is a bacterial disease caused by a bacterium known as Vibrio Cholerae. It is an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water supplies and causing severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Cholera vaccines are effective at preventing cholera for the first six months after vaccination. They provide about 85% protection which decreases to 50% or 62% during the first year. After two years, the level of protection decreases to less than 50%. When enough of the population is immunized, it may protect those who have not been immunized, whom the medical jargon refers them to as herd immunity. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of cholera vaccines in combination with other measures among those at high risk. With the oral vaccine, two or three doses are typically recommended. The duration of protection is two years in adults and six months in children aged 2–5 years. These vaccines are safe in pregnancy and in those with poor immune function. They are licensed for use in more than 60 countries. A single dose vaccine is available for those traveling to an area where cholera is common. So, communities targeted by the roll out cholera vaccination should jubilate, for the boundary is being created between them and the deadly cholera. The ministry should also extend the cholera vaccination to areas not affected by floods because such areas are linked with flood-affected areas, in that, an outbreak of cholera in flood-affected areas is also an outbreak in areas not affected by floods.