‘Cholera here to stay’

National, Normal

CHOLERA vaccination is not the answer to preventing cholera infection and spread in PNG.
PNG, at this stage, is not yet endemic to the disease, and thus, vaccination is  not the answer,  according to the Health Department.
Department acting secretary Mark Mauludu said although PNG was not classified as endemic to cholera, “the disease is here to stay and from experience of other countries with similar settings, we will continue to see outbreaks and spread of the disease, if we neglect the basic of having access to good clean water supply and proper sanitation or toilet facility in every home”.
He said in a statement on Friday that the public was advised that there were a number of vaccines available in the market but only one was prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The vaccine prescribe by WHO is produced in Sweden and is called “Dukoral”.
Dukoral gives protection for only two years after which revaccination is recommended.
“The feasibility of giving two doses of cholera vaccine a week apart and to achieve high coverage  in order to protect the population is really difficult considering PNG’s geographical setting.
“Given the current information on its efficency, field effectiveness, feasibility and acceptance in cholera affected population, it would be best to use immunisation with this vaccine in areas where the disease is endemic,” Mr Mauludu said.
He said currently, the vaccine was used for international travellers going from a non-affected country into a affected country to protect them against the disease and not used for epidemic control.
The Health Department appealed to all relevant authorities, including communities, to place priority on ensuring that each household, each village, each settlement and each town has good clean water supply system and proper toilet facility to help reduce the spread of the disease.