Nearly 1.9 million people have received the cholera vaccine despite the challenging environment in Ethiopia’s conflict-affected Amhara region, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.
The WHO said in a statement that it has conducted successful interventions that include providing vaccination and essential kits for cholera and other diseases in the region. It said the Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV) campaign reached more than 1.9 million individuals in the region despite a challenging environment.
The Amhara region, Ethiopia’s second most populated region, is currently facing multiple emergencies including drought, measles, malaria and a cholera outbreak, the WHO said, citing the Amhara Public Health Institute.
The region is also affected by armed conflicts, causing a spike in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The region hosts more than 800,000 IDPs in the region, of whom 12 percent are living in 40 collective sites.
The region launched a five-day OCV campaign in nine of its most affected hotspot districts in September.
The districts were prioritized due to limited doses of the vaccine, IDPs and agriculture development corridors with migrant workers, and the fact that they have had previous cholera outbreaks qualifying them as high-risk areas.
The WHO said the OCV campaign targeted adults, youth and children above one year of age in all the selected districts regardless of their gender and religion. It further recommended the use of cholera vaccines in combination with surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene, social mobilization, and treatment among those living in high-risk areas.
Last month, the WHO disclosed that an ongoing cholera outbreak in the East African country has claimed some 300 lives so far. The agency, in its health cluster bulletin for Ethiopia released early last month, said the ongoing cholera outbreak, since Aug. 27, 2022, has spread into 113 districts across 10 regions in Ethiopia.
It indicated that the ongoing cholera response interventions have managed to control the outbreak in the country. It, however, expressed concern as some districts are seeing a reemergence of cholera cases.