Measles vaccination drive rolled out countrywide

The vaccination against the deadly measles which has killed close to 700 children countrywide has started countrywide, with Matabeleland North rolling out the programme last Friday.

Zimbabwe had the first outbreak in Mutasa district, Manicaland province on 10 August and to date, 6 206 confirmed cases including 4 440 recoveries and 698 deaths had been received countrywide.

Manicaland has the highest number of 2 942 cases, followed by Mashonaland West with 855, Mashonaland East (718,) Midlands (527), Masvingo (407), Mashonaland Central (294) Harare (153) and Chitungwiza with 141, according to the Ministry of Health and Child Care as at 3 September.

Matabeleland region has the lowest cases with Matabeleland North recording 80, Matabeleland South 67 and Bulawayo 22.

New cases continue to be received across the country and 172 were recorded on Saturday in Manicaland (92), Chitungwiza (36), Mashonaland East (13) Midlands (9), Mashonaland West (8), Matabeleland South (8) and Masvingo (6).

Mashonaland West, Matabeleland South and Midlands had four deaths each while one was recorded in Chitungwiza on Saturday when a total of 14 were reported.

In Matabeleland North, all 80 cases were reported in Binga district in Sinakoma ward.

The province started the vaccination programme last Friday with full force roll-out expected this Monday as schools open.

Children above six months and below 56 months are targeted to stop the spread of the acute viral respiratory illness.

Fever, cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, sore throat, and a red skin rash are some of the common symptoms.

Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director Dr Admire Kuretu said the vaccination exercise had started in the province.

“So far we have measles cases in Binga in Sinakoma ward. The first case was reported on 27 August 2022 and the total has reached about 80 children,” he said.

Health education and community engagement has been escalated across the province’s seven districts with local authorities availing their health facilities for the exercise.

Health authorities have appealed to communities to make sure all children are vaccinated.
Traditionally, some religious denominations and traditionalists have been known not to cooperate with such national vaccination programmes.

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