Despite improvement in drinkable water supply and sanitation the last few years, cholera cases are increasing. According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimations, there are approximately three to five million cases with an estimated 120,000 deaths per year. Use of the oral cholera vaccine (OCV) is an essential strategy for prevention and control of cholera. In order to respond to this disquieting situation, AMP has launched VaxiChol, a project that aims to implement pilot activities targeting the introduction of OCV.
The main goal of the Vaxichol project is to show the efficiency of OCV in countries hit by cholera epidemics: The majority of anticipated activities are aimed at developing database on public health in Africa.
VaxiChol is a three-year multi-disciplinary project that foresees the following activities:
- 1. Supporting the introduction of OCV in endemic zones
- Identification of areas at high risk of cholera in countries that may be targeted by vaccination campaigns;
- Introduction of innovative strategies for vaccine administration;
- Development of national plans that include the use of OCV among the strategies for cholera control and prevention.
- 2. Demonstration activities targeting use of OCV
- Impact assessment and logistic evaluation studies of vaccination campaigns;
- Economic assessments of OCV use; impact and logistic evaluation studies of vaccination campaigns;
- Anthropological assessment to understand people’s perception on cholera and their acceptance of the vaccine;
- Support to the organization of OCV preemptive and reactive campaigns.
- 3. Dissemination and promotion of results to international partners
Relationships with the other international partners are paramount for the success of this project. VaxiChol activities have already been implemented in close collaboration with other key actors, such as WHO, UNICEF and other organizations involved in vaccination. Meetings of technical groups of the Global Task Force for Cholera Control (GTFCC) provide ample opportunity for exchange and coordination of activities related to cholera.
Until now, the Vaxichol project has been established in Malawi, which was hit by cholera epidemic in December 2015. AMP supported the Ministry of Health in the elaboration of vaccination provision from the International Coordinating Group – ICG and in the organization of the vaccination campaign that took place between February and March 2016.
In parallel, an anthropological and two economic studies were carried out.
The Vaxichol team also signed an agreement with the National Institute of Health in Mozambique to establish activities in the country. In addition, relations have begun with the authorities of Ghana and Uganda.