“It’s been five days since we started vaccinating and, so far, we have vaccinated 14,224 people”, says Caline Rehayem, MSF deputy medical coordinator in Lebanon. “Our teams are going from door to door in neighbourhoods, visiting homes, shops, and camps actively seeking out people to get vaccinated and to raise awareness on the importance of vaccination against a highly contagious disease” explained Rehayem.
Since Lebanon recorded its first cholera case in almost three decades on October 6th, 19 people have died as a result of the disease, with the number of confirmed and suspected rising to 3,671 as of November 16, 2022.
MSF’s vaccination efforts are targeting Lebanese and refugees living in poor and/or overcrowded areas in the country, conditions that put people at heightened risk of contracting infectious diseases.
“To be able to effectively curb the outbreak, it is crucial to enhance cholera prevention measures, of which vaccination is one of the critical elements”, says Marcelo Fernandez, MSF head of mission in Lebanon. “However, if no meaningful actions are taken to ensure people have proper access to safe drinking water and sanitation services in the country, we can expect cholera and/or other waterborne infectious diseases to resurface regularly in Lebanon” adds Fernandez.