About the DOVE Project
STOP Cholera: Work Together. Stop Transmission. End Deaths.
The goal of the DOVE (Delivering Oral Vaccine Effectively) project is to ensure that populations at risk of cholera will benefit from receiving oral cholera vaccine (OCV) in an appropriate and effective manner.
The DOVE project is based at Johns Hopkins University but works in close collaboration with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and other partners. It provides tools and resources to countries and agencies who are dealing with the threat of cholera in order to assist them in making evidence-based decisions regarding when and how to use OCV.
Cholera is a growing threat, especially for those most vulnerable. Each year about 2.5 million people suffer from cholera, and approximately 100,000 of them die from the disease. Those who become ill are often the most difficult to reach. Most are poor, live in conditions with poor water quality and sanitation, and often do not have access to treatment when they become ill. Cholera is especially cruel since one must receive treatment within a few hours or risk dying. Perfectly healthy people, young and old, can die within 6 hours of the onset of symptoms, so treatment must be provided quickly, and it must be given properly.
The long term solution for preventing cholera is improved water and sanitation, but until that is accomplished, the new oral vaccine can prevent most illnesses and save many lives. Clearly vaccine is not an alternative to safe water; however, vaccine and improved water/sanitation actually work together—each reinforces the benefit of the other.
The vaccine was first shown to be safe and effective in the mid 1980s, but it has only recently gone into production. It is now recommended by the World Health Organization and is being used increasingly in different settings. These have included Mozambique, Zanzibar, and more recently Haiti, where pilot programs have started. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provided vaccine to Guinea, West Africa, because of an outbreak and to refugees in South Sudan. The greatest use has been in Asia where thousands of people have received it in Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam. Now that the World Health Organization has a vaccine stockpile, national Ministries of Health can obtain vaccine quickly when an emergency occurs.
The vaccine is easy to administer since it is given orally and consists of less than half a teaspoon of the liquid. A second dose is given about two weeks later. Organizing a campaign to vaccinate a large population does take considerable organization, but recent experience shows that such a campaign is feasible. People who receive it have been grateful.
This web site and the links to others will be consolidating and generating evidence from recent experience with OCV. It will provide tools and resources to help ministries and agencies make decisions on when, where, and how to use OCV. By collecting OCV experience and sharing this information, the DOVE project anticipates that this collective knowledge and wisdom about cholera control will eventually stop cholera from being a major public health problem. STOP Cholera: Work Together. Stop Transmission. End Deaths.