|Cholera vaccine program begins in St. Marc and Port-au-Prince|
|Friday, 20 April 2012 11:02|
The first round of cholera vaccine treatments for the public began recently in Port-au-Prince and western port city St. Marc, after final approval from the government's ethics committee. The vaccination scheme plans to vaccinate almost 100,000 citizens in these key areas before the beginning of the rainy season further exposes the public to the waterborne disease.
The vaccination program, organized by the Boston-based Partners in Health (PIH) in association with Haitian-based nonprofit, the Gheskio Center, was originally planned to launch in January. The project however was delayed after public concerns emerged about the use of the new cholera vaccine drug, Shanchol. The new oral drug, a cheaper option developed by an Indian pharmaceutical company, was only approved by the World Health Organization in September 2011. Haitian critics were concerned that the program involving the newly approved drug would be more of a medical experiment on a vulnerable public than a treatment program.
At 100,000, the project will only serve one percent of the population. Organizers of the program hope however that the smaller-scale program would prove to Haitian officials and international aid donors that the two doses for a two-week period program is possible, winning support for a bigger campaign.
So far the program is holding solid support from government officials.
"This vaccine will be able to give us good protection," said Dr. Gabriel Timothe, director-general of the Health Ministry, in his announcement approving the program. He also noted that the project would "enable us to evaluate the operational cost" of cholera vaccination.
The program also coincides with a national vaccine campaign for diseases such as measles, rubella, polio, rotavirus, Hemophilus influenzae and pneumonia.
|Last Updated on Friday, 20 April 2012 11:44|