Feature: Yemen launches door-to-door vaccination campaign to fight cholera's comeback

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-28 16:33:20|Editor: xuxin
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A Yemeni man receives oral vaccine drops against cholera in Aden city, Yemen, Oct. 27, 2018. (Xinhua/Murad Abdu)

by Murad Abdu

ADEN, Yemen, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- A large oral vaccination campaign against cholera was launched on Saturday by Yemeni authorities in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the southern port city of Aden, in an attempt to fight the recent comeback of the epidemic.

The second phase of the anti-cholera campaign targeted five districts in Aden Province where the Yemeni government is temporarily based.

"The health authorities received more than four tons of oral cholera vaccines shipped directly on the airlines from Denmark's Copenhagen to Aden," Ali Waleedi, undersecretary of Health Ministry, told Xinhua.

The WHO financially supported local medical teams in their door-to-door vaccination for one-year-olds and above, Waleedi explained.

The Yemeni health official assured citizens in Aden of the safety of the anti-cholera vaccine and appealed for coordination between health workers and local authorities in administering the campaign.

"The vaccine is not harmful and will play a very vital role in reducing cholera cases in Aden," he said. "Enhancing hygiene and sanitation in citizens' homes is necessary to avoid cholera and severe diarrhea diseases."

This month, Yemen's Ministry of Public Health and Population reported 13,403 suspected cases and 26 associated deaths during the epidemiological week of Oct. 1-7 only.

According to a WHO statement, the suspected cholera cases from April 27, 2017 to Oct. 7, 2018 amounted to 1,236,028 with 2,556 associated deaths.

Jamal Khadabish, head of Health Department in Aden, told Xinhua that a number of specialized medical teams were adequately trained during the past days for the anti-cholera campaign.

"Many specialized doctors and health employees attended educational programs on how to raise awareness among citizens and fight cholera outbreak," Khadabish said.

"The field teams will teach people and school students how to take necessary preventive measures to avoid the spread of cholera and other diseases," he added.

Meanwhile, citizens in southern Yemen urged the United Nations organizations to provide local medical centers with necessary equipment and medicines.

"A number of children died because of lack of medical care and medicines in local government hospitals last year," said Ahmed Ban Hamdi, an Aden-based citizen.

The citizens were unable to save the children "because they couldn't afford the high cost of medicines in private hospitals," Hamdi lamented.

Yemen has been locked into a civil war since Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.

Saudi Arabia, along with several other Arab countries, intervened militarily and began pounding the Houthi-controlled Sanaa in March 2015 in response to an official request from Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to protect his country.

The internal military conflict between Iran-backed Houthis and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government recently entered its fourth year, aggravating the suffering of Yemenis and deepening the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Three quarters of the Yemeni population, or more than 22 million people, including 8.4 million who struggle to find their next meal, urgently need humanitarian assistance.

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