The oral cholera vaccine (OCV) being administered at Minawao Camp, Cameroon.
Credit: Gavi/2015/A. Makundi.
Geneva, 18 August 2015 - For the first time, people in Cameroon will be protected against cholera by an oral cholera vaccine (OCV) which is being delivered with support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Use of the vaccine follows reports of cholera cases in three health districts in the north of the country.
“Gavi is stepping in with additional investments to address the high demand for a safe and easy-to-use cholera vaccine for outbreak and emergency response,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “This vaccine can substantially reduce the burden of disease and greatly contribute to cholera control efforts along with other preventive interventions.”
More than 110,000 doses of the oral cholera vaccine have been made available to the Ministry of Health of Cameroon with support from Gavi, through the global oral cholera vaccine stockpile managed by the International Coordinating Group (ICG).
Initially created for one year with support from five donors, the global oral cholera vaccine stockpile was originally planned to make available two million doses worldwide. However demand rapidly exceeded this figure. In November 2013, the Gavi board approved additional funding of US$ 114.5 million to respond to cholera outbreaks, stimulate global supply and assess the value and feasibility of preventive vaccination campaigns in endemic settings for the period 2014-2018.
This vaccine can substantially reduce the burden of disease and greatly contribute to cholera control efforts along with other preventive interventions.
Dr Seth Berkley, Gavi CEO
“Cholera control should be a priority in areas where the disease is endemic which is in more than 50 countries in the world, many of them being Gavi-supported countries,” added Dr Berkley. “Gavi is now entirely funding the global oral cholera vaccine stockpile which will enable manufacturers to strengthen production and to gather evidence of the impact of vaccination on cholera epidemics.”
This preventive campaign in Cameroon will be conducted by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) using the Gavi-supported vaccine and will take place in Minawao/Gawar camp as well as in the nearby villages of Gadala and Gawar in the Mokolo district and the Extreme Nord region.
Cholera is a severe diarrhoeal disease that claims the lives of more than 100,000 people every year and can kill within hours if left untreated. Because it is often found in areas with poor access to clean water and sanitation, people living in urban slums and poor rural communities are at particular risk. Cholera is caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Every year, between three and five million people are infected, with over one billion estimated to be at risk.
Although oral cholera vaccine is a very important tool to fight cholera, it should be used together with improved water and sanitation practices, better surveillance, and greater awareness among communities as to how to prevent and control this and other diarrhoeal diseases.
Since the beginning of the year the stockpile has supported emergency campaigns in Malawi, the United Republic of Tanzania, and South Sudan.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is funded by governments (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the State of Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States), the European Commission, Alwaleed Philanthropies, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Majid Al Futtaim, as well as private and corporate partners (Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., the A&A Foundation, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Comic Relief, the ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation, The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW), the Gulf Youth Alliance, JP Morgan, “la Caixa” Foundation, LDS Charities, Lions Clubs International Foundation, UPS and Vodafone.
Click to view the full donor list.