Zeroing in on purposive targeting in oral cholera vaccination campaign

In the midst of a raging cholera outbreak in Sorgin, Nsanje, Kaombe Sugar Company finds itself at the epicenter of a public health crisis. Field workers, including long-time employee Michael Kajobe, face dire sanitation challenges as the absence of toilets and water washing mechanisms in sugarcane plantations forces them to resort to unhygienic practices.

As of January 2023, the Sorgin Health Center has recorded over 114 cholera cases, with a staggering 42 cases traced back to employees of Kaombe Sugar Company. The severity of the situation has prompted an oral cholera vaccination team from Sorgin Health Center to take action, targeting the company’s workforce.Despite the gravity of the situation, resistance to vaccination persists. Kajobe, a field worker with eight years of experience, exemplifies a larger demographic skeptical about the relevance of preventive measures. In January alone, he and many others refused the cholera vaccine, citing past vaccinations and a perceived lack of benefit.The vaccination team, led by Senior Health Surveillance Officer Joseph Jamieson, patiently awaits the noon gate opening for Kaombe Sugar Company employees.

Jamieson, who played a crucial role during the cholera outbreak, expresses frustration at the resistance faced during previous interventions. He highlights the challenges of community engagement, citing leaders who fail to inform their communities and the prevalence of personal beliefs hindering vaccination efforts. In a compelling encounter between Jamieson and Kajobe, the health officer emphasizes the vaccine’s safety and dispels misconceptions. He underscores the lasting risk of the cholera virus, lasting over five years, and the urgent need for vaccination in an environment lacking proper sanitation practices.

Kajobe, initially reluctant, undergoes a transformation into a cholera vaccine advocate. He recognizes the vaccine’s importance in safeguarding not only his life but also his family, economic stability, and the strained health system.The situation sheds light on broader issues of workplace sanitation, economic implications for workers falling ill, and the necessity for comprehensive public health interventions.

As the vaccination team continues door-to-door mobilization, the hope is to bridge the gap between skepticism and understanding, ultimately mitigating the cholera crisis and promoting a healthier, more informed community.

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