Measles epidemic out of control

measlesHARARE United Nations agencies and the Zimbabwe government on Monday appealed for more than US$8m to combat a measles outbreak they said has reached crisis proportion and was spinning out of control.

It is true that measles in Zimbabwe is now out of control, given that it is now in all parts of the country, UNICEF director in Zimbabwe Peter Salama told journalists.

We can now say all children (in Zimbabwe) are at risk to die of measlesthis is symbolic of the breakdown of the (health) infrastructure in Zimbabwe. This is similar to what happened during the outbreak of cholera in 2008.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera said the $8.4m the government was asking for would be used for immunisation programmes to contain the outbreak that has, to date, claimed at least 183 people, mainly children under five and people who had never been vaccinated.

The health minister said the disease had hit families of some religious groups whose followers refused conventional medical treatment, but he said it had since spread to more areas, and appeared to be getting out of control, with 1,843 people affected countrywide.

Madzorera said the government was working on a law that would make it compulsory for children to be immunised.

The immunisation programme in Zimbabwe has, over the years, declined due to the economic hardships that we faced, said Madzorera, adding that an exodus of doctors and nurses had also crippled the governments immunisation programmes.

Post published in: Analysis

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