By Princess-Ekwi Ajide – Abuja
World Health Organization (WHO), says it will be conducting a week long hybrid training for health professionals in Abuja to emphasize the importance of integrating Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) as an option for emergency and preventive cholera outbreaks in endemic countries.
The training intended for individuals that will be involved in the planning and implementation of OCV campaigns is aimed at ‘Ending Cholera: A Global Road Map to 2030.
The road map launched in 2017 targets to reduce cholera deaths by 90% by the year 2030 and eliminate cholera in at least 20 out of the 47 countries currently affected.
“The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said the increasing use of oral cholera vaccines to complement other interventions including water, sanitation and hygiene, for prevention and control of cholera outbreaks, is an additional achievement in humanity’s walk toward vaccine equity and universal health coverage and the capacity-building workshop will strengthen our health systems in implementing high-quality OCV activities noting that according to the road map, priority countries are to plan OCV campaigns in targeted cholera hotspots as a component of their National Cholera Control Plan (NCP).
She highlighted some challenges including the 2021 annual Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) stakeholder meeting, where poor quality reactive and preventive OCV campaign requests, lack of OCV use in outbreak response in some settings, and inadequate monitoring and evaluation of OCV campaigns were identified and needed to be addressed.
On this backdrop, the workshop targeting the Anglophone Cholera Priority countries is expected to strengthen the capacities of health professionals from ministries of health (MOH), key in-country partners and independent individuals who soon are likely to lead or be part of decision making regarding the inclusion of OCV in cholera control activities or who may coordinate an OCV campaign.
The workshop is designed to address the associated lack of human resources knowledgeable about OCV by building awareness and practical skills on developing an emergency and preventive OCV campaign request, including how to identify areas in an active outbreak to target OCV as a control intervention and how to identify hotspots to prevent cholera outbreaks as part of a multi-year OCV plan
Some outcome of the one-week workshop include attendees being able to provide an overview of the processes to prepare both emergency and non-emergency OCV request, as well as differentiate between an emergency or non-emergency request, The key data requirements and the location of relevant forms and tools to develop OCV requests, For non-emergency OCV requests develop multi-year OCV plans that prioritize cholera hotspots for campaigns utilizing criteria and data.”
“Attendees can provide an overview of key actions and timelines to prepare for and implement OCV campaign and examples of how data would be used to improve outcomes of the second round and/or future OCV campaigns.”
Many WHO African Region Member States, including Nigeria, have experienced several cholera outbreaks characterized by high case fatality rates and since 2013, there have been increased use of vaccination against cholera as additional control measures for the prevention and the control of cholera outbreaks
“The Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) provides a framework to support countries in intensifying efforts to control cholera.
The GTFCC is a global network of organizations that brings together partners involved in the fight against cholera across all sectors, offering an effective country-driven platform that promotes a multi-sectoral, well-coordinated approach.