Measles efforts stepped up

BULAWAYO There have been 95 cases of measles recorded here since the recent outbreak of the disease, an official has said.

The Bulawayo City Councils (BCC) director of Health Services, Doctor Zanele Hwalima, told ***The Zimbabwean that the local authority had stepped up efforts in the fight against the disease. Currently, we have a total of 95 (measles) cases city-wide, their ages range between four months and 33 years. Health education is ongoing and we are also educating the public on the dangers of not immunizing children, she said. Hwalima said plans were under way to immunise children in line with the governments move to immunise every child in the country.

Normally, children are immunised at six months, then every six months thereafter until they reach five years. However, in cases of an outbreak, all children aged between six and 14 years are given measles vaccination and Vitamin A supplements, she said. She added that the outbreak was occurring in areas where there was a low vaccination coverage and an accumulation of people who have never been infected or never been vaccinated.

It was recently reported that 183 children had died of measles countrywide since the outbreak of the disease in September last year. A total of 1 880 cases were reported during the same period in 40 out of 62 districts in the country with the majority being recorded in Harare, which has 614 reported cases. The Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Douglas Mombeshora, recently said the Ministry needed over US$8 million to help curb the outbreak.

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