By Blessing Bature, Abuja
Federal Government has on Monday pledged its readiness to integrate oral cholera vaccination into the emergency and preventive measures in the country.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Osagie Ehanire disclosed this at training on integration of Oral Cholera Vaccine in emergency and Preventive contexts in Abuja
Ehanire said the initiative is a tool for prevention and control of cholera outbreaks, which has for some time now, become a recurrent seasonal public health challenge in many Low and lower middle income countries, like ours, despite efforts at control and commended the World Health Organisation (WHO) for this laudable and desirable initiative.
According to him, the first recorded appearance of cholera at epidemic level in Nigeria was in 1972, with gradually increasing numbers of outbreaks over the years, along with marked mortality and morbidity, and expenses associated with treatment and management.
He said the traditional measures for cholera prevention and control has been to provide potable water and improve hygiene and sanitation. Science has however, over the years, risen to the task, with the development of oral cholera vaccine, now certified as effective enough to be recommended for disease prevention and control. Availability of the vaccine has unfortunately been limited, which has restricted its use and the much expected impact.
He therefore acknowledged the training as a prelude to equitable access to the vaccine, and another step towards our goal of better Health for all. “I believe it will strengthen our health system by reducing, or even removing one more public health nuisance by vaccination.”
The Minister implored all participants to make best use of this opportunity and put in their best in the one week training to acquire knowledge and skills necessary to use the vaccine to eliminate cholera as a recurrent health problem.