WHO trains health professionals on integration of oral cholera vaccines

The World Health Organization (WHO) will organize a hybrid training in Abuja for health professionals, emphasizing the importance of integrating oral cholera vaccine (OCV) as an option for emergency cholera outbreaks and prevention in endemic countries.

The training which aligns with “Ending Cholera: A Global Road Map to 2030”, is intended for people who will be involved in the planning and implementation of OCV campaigns.

The roadmap launched in 2017 aims for a 90% reduction in deaths from cholera by 2030 and the elimination of cholera in at least 20 countries out of the 47 currently affected.

“The increasing use of oral cholera vaccines to complement other interventions, including water, sanitation and hygiene, for the prevention and control of cholera outbreaks, is a further achievement in the march of humanity towards vaccine equity and universal health coverage. This capacity-building workshop will strengthen our health systems in implementing high-quality VCO activities,” said Rebecca Matshidiso Moeti, Director WHO Regional Office for Africa.

According to the roadmap, priority countries should plan OCV campaigns in targeted cholera hotspots as part of their National Cholera Control Plan (NCP). However, there are some challenges.

At the 2021 Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) Annual Stakeholder Meeting, demands for poor quality reactive and preventative VCO campaigns, lack of use of VCO in outbreak response in some contexts and inadequate monitoring and evaluation of VCO campaigns were identified and needed to be addressed.

As such, the workshop targeting cholera priority English-speaking countries aims to build the capacity of health professionals from Ministries of Health (MOHs), key in-country partners and self-employed individuals who will soon be likely to lead or participate in decision-making regarding inclusion. OCV in cholera control activities or who can coordinate an OCV campaign.

The workshop is designed to address the associated lack of OCV knowledgeable human resources by building awareness and practical skills on developing an OCV emergency and prevention campaign request, including how to identify areas of 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.

“Notwithstanding, the week-long workshop aims to achieve the following outcomes: participants can provide an overview of the processes for preparing an urgent and non-urgent OCV request, including the differences between an urgent and non-urgent request, the key data requirements and 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 using criteria and data.

“Participants can provide an overview of key actions and timelines to prepare and implement the OCV campaign and examples of how the data could be used to improve the results of the second round and/or future OCV campaigns.”

“Historically, Member States of the WHO African Region, including Nigeria, have experienced several outbreaks of cholera characterized by high case fatality rates and cholera vaccination is increasingly being used as an additional control measure to prevention and control of cholera epidemics since 2013.”

“The Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) is a global network of organizations that brings together partners involved in the fight against cholera from all sectors, providing an effective national platform that promotes a well-coordinated multi-sectoral approach . The GTFCC provides a framework to help countries scale up their cholera control efforts.

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