Caretaker Health Minister Firass Abiad announced Sunday that Lebanon is expected to shortly receive 600,000 doses of the cholera vaccine, adding that a vaccination drive will kick off in the country next Saturday.
The minister was speaking during a tour of the Baalbek-Hermel region to prepare for the campaign. He was accompanied by a delegation of NGOs and local and international organizations.
Abiad started his tour from the village of Arsal where he visited a camp for displaced Syrians and a field hospital.
The minister explained that the hospital could accommodate 25 cholera patients instead of transferring them to distant hospitals.
He said the number of cases in the Bekaa is less than those in Akkar, but expressed concern over the spread of the disease.
“Next Saturday, the cholera vaccination campaign will begin with the aim of protecting and limiting its spread in agricultural areas,” Abiad announced.
He stressed that the campaign aims to vaccinate 600,000 Syrian and Lebanese people in three weeks.
Abiad said food security is a top priority, adding that it is important to work to limit the spread of cholera and eradicate it from the country.
He added that tests have revealed that irrigation water in some areas was contaminated with cholera.
“We appeal to citizens to adhere to the instructions for washing vegetables. As long as we have water problems, there are sanitation problems,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that cholera is spreading “rapidly” across Lebanon.
Lebanon’s economic collapse has caused the healthcare sector to deteriorate with many doctors and pediatricians leaving the country.