News / Health

Doctors Without Borders Vaccinates Guineans Against Cholera

Internally displaced children suffering from cholera sleep inside a ward at Banadir hospital in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, August 2011. (file photo)Internally displaced children suffering from cholera sleep inside a ward at Banadir hospital in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, August 2011. (file photo)
x
Internally displaced children suffering from cholera sleep inside a ward at Banadir hospital in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, August 2011. (file photo)
Internally displaced children suffering from cholera sleep inside a ward at Banadir hospital in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, August 2011. (file photo)
Nancy Palus
DAKAR, Senegal - The medical aid group, Doctors Without Borders, has vaccinated more than 100,000 people against cholera in Guinea. The group says this is the first intervention of its kind in Africa, where people were vaccinated during a major cholera outbreak. Experts say that while the vaccine is a vital tool, it cannot be seen as a solution in itself.

Along with local health workers, Doctors Without Borders - known by its French acronym MSF - just wrapped up a campaign providing the two-dose oral vaccine to 117,000 people in Guinea’s Boffa region, about 150 kilometers north of the capital, Conakry.

MSF intervened with the vaccine following an outbreak in the region - the first time people in Africa are receiving protection during a cholera epidemic. MSF says the campaign could lead to a more effective response to outbreaks worldwide.

François Verhoustraeten, who is program director with MSF in Geneva and oversees the agency’s work in Guinea, said what’s particular about the Guinea intervention is that MSF introduced the vaccine once cases were already reported. So not only is the group protecting people from the disease, he said, it is also able to see the impact of vaccination on an ongoing epidemic.

Guinea and other West African countries regularly face outbreaks of cholera, a deadly illness caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the cholera bacteria. Once someone is infected, the bacteria are present in feces for one to two weeks, so proper sanitation and access to clean drinking water are indispensable for prevention.

MSF points out that the cholera vaccine cannot be used alone, but rather is just one tool against this highly contagious yet preventable disease.

Verhoustraeten said the agency will not base future cholera prevention efforts on the vaccine. He said proper hygiene and access to clean water remain fundamental measures and that the vaccine can be a significant addition.

MSF and local health workers carried out the campaign in Guinea's Boffa region between late April and mid-May. The agency says the vaccine is relatively easy to administer, training for local health workers is basic, and the vaccine has been well accepted by the people.

Claire-Lise Chaignat is a cholera expert at the World Health Organization in Geneva. She said WHO is closely watching the campaign in Guinea.

“Vaccines have certainly a role to play in cholera control, but it’s not a panacea. We’re very keen on seeing how this intervention of MSF in West Africa is going to be effective,” said Chaignat.

She said vaccination is becoming increasingly prominent in cholera prevention, pointing to a project in Zanzibar, in eastern Africa, where broad vaccination campaigns are planned.  

“Now the recommendation is to use cholera vaccines to eliminate cholera in Zanzibar by having three vaccination rounds over a period of 10 years, along with improved water and sanitation. So you see the vaccine is really coming to the forefront, but again not as a sole measure; it has to be part of an intervention package,” said Chaignat.

MSF points out that a number of other diarrheal diseases affect people in Africa - all the more reason proper sanitation and clean water are paramount.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid