Positive response to measles vaccination campaign

Source: Positive response to measles vaccination campaign | The Herald September 24, 2019

Positive response to measles vaccination campaignThe national measles-rubella vaccination campaign started in earnest yesterday for children under the age of five. Here a child is administered with Vitamin A supplementation in Mbare. — Picture: Innocent Makawa

Herald Reporters
The measles-rubella week-long campaign which kicked off in Harare yesterday started on a high note with a number of parents taking their children to various health facilities dotted across the country for vaccination.

In Harare, queues started forming as early as 8am at most clinics as health workers prepared to vaccinate over 1,8 million children between the ages of six months and five years over the next week.

The campaign will also see children within the same age groups receiving Vitamin A supplements.

Although no official statistics could be obtained on the actual number of children that had been vaccinated by day end, disease and epidemiology director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Portia Manangazira described the turnout as good.

“The turnout has been very good at most of our sites and we are hoping it will remain that way for the rest of the week or even exceed today’s numbers so that we reach out to all the children we are targeting to vaccinate,” said Dr Manangazira.

He assured parents that their children will be vaccinated at local clinics saying the ongoing strike by junior doctors in Government institutions does not affect the campaign.

She, however, said public health specialists were looking forward to a quick resolution to the impasse to enable any child who might need services for complications in referral health institutions to receive it without delay.

In Masvingo, the acting chief health officer, Mr Ngonidzashe Mapamula called on residents to utilise the vaccination period by taking their children to nearest health centres.

Matabeleland South Provincial medical director Dr Chipo Chikodzore said teams were already on the ground across all the districts.

Manicaland acting provincial medical director Dr Munyaradzi Mukuzunga said the programme had started well across all districts with turnout expected to improve as the week progresses.

Measles is a highly contagious viral respiratory infection that causes high fever, skin rash, running nose, watery eyes and a cough. The disease mainly affects children under the age of five years.

Measles in unvaccinated children is serious and can cause severe diarrhoea leading to dehydration, blindness in those with inadequate Vitamin A intake, inflammation of the middle ear, brain damage and death due to pneumonia.