SW Public Health Delegate, Dr Filbert Eko Eko, administering cholera vaccine
at Bongo Square, Buea
By Hope Nda
Phase three of the first round of the reactive cholera vaccination was launched in the Southwest Region on October 7, with fresh calls for people to take the preventive vaccine and to intensify hygiene measures.
The campaign that was launched in Buea ran from October 8 through 12 and targeted six health districts in the Region: Buea, Kumba South, Kumba North, Limbe, Muyuka and Tiko. It was a continuation of efforts by the Regional Delegation of Public Health to stem the spread of cholera in the Region.
Health authorities say everyone aged from one year is eligible for the oral vaccine, including pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
“We are hoping to cover at least 95 percent of the targeted population. So we are looking up to everybody within these targeted health areas to come out en masse to take the vaccine,” said the Southwest Delegate of Public Health, Dr Filbert Eko Eko.
He noted that the campaign is preventive, and comes at a time when the Southwest Region, once considered the epicentre of cholera in Cameroon, has not recorded any case for months now.
“However, this is the time that we need to be more vigilant and take more protective preventive measures. If we don’t do that now, then any other case that enters into the Southwest Region might be catastrophic,” he said.
Health workers will administer the vaccine by moving from one house to another. Vaccination posts will also be fixed at health facilities within the targeted areas and temporary posts will be set up at Churches, community centres and areas deemed necessary.
While launching the cholera campaign, Mbembe Vanessa, who represented the Governor of the Southwest Region, said it is necessary for everyone to get involved in the fight against cholera.
This will include observing basic hygiene and sanitation at home and in public spaces and receiving the cholera vaccine, which, she said, is safe and free of charge.
She also called on “all the stakeholders to do everything in their ability to reach the concerned health districts. No child or adult within the target age should be left unvaccinated.”
Cholera has lingered in the Southwest Region since October 2021, when the epidemic was declared with cases first discovered in the Bakassi health area in Ndian Division. The epidemic later spread to other areas and affected most health districts in the Region.
Dr Filbert Eko said the Region has recorded 6,010 cases since last October, with 93 deaths, giving a case fatality rate of 1.6 percent.
In Buea, the regional headquarters, about 957 cases have been recorded, with about 13 deaths since January 28, stated the Buea District Medical Officer, Dr Ngund Mathias.
“We have succeeded to contain the cholera outbreak in Muea that was the epicentre, followed by Molyko and Buea Road. Since July we have not registered any case again but we know that the root causes of cholera are still present: the scarcity of potable water and the poor hygiene and sanitation in our community,” Dr Ngund said.