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Zimbabwe launches door-to-door oral cholera vaccination campaign

by Staff reporter
30 Jan 2024 at 07:33hrs | Views
Zimbabwe has initiated an Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV) campaign, focusing on individuals aged one and above. The collaborative effort involves UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). The launch took place in Kuwadzana, a heavily affected suburb in Harare, on Monday.

Health Minister Douglas Mombeshora revealed that the campaign aims to reach 2.3 million people, and the initial batch comprises 800 doses. In a speech delivered by Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Charles Tawengwa on behalf of Mombeshora, it was noted that cholera has been a persistent issue since the 2023 outbreak, exacerbated by recent factors such as rain, flooding, and increased population movement during the festive season.

Mombeshora emphasized that cholera vaccines are a recognized and effective public health measure, complementing existing government initiatives. The vaccines are strategically positioned in provinces, cities, and severely affected districts, including Harare. The campaign will involve door-to-door visits and school-based vaccinations.

The next batch of doses is anticipated on February 5. Mombeshora acknowledged the global demand for vaccines, attributing the staggered distribution in Zimbabwe to the current international shortage caused by high demand in affected countries in the region. He reassured the public of the vaccine's safety, citing its successful use in previous campaigns.

Financial support from GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, facilitated the availability of these vaccines. Zimbabwe has reported over 20,000 suspected cholera cases and more than 400 confirmed and suspected deaths since the initial cases nearly a year ago.

Dr. Jean-Marie Dangou, WHO Zimbabwe Representative, highlighted the importance of the house-to-house strategy to minimize gatherings and further disease spread. UNICEF Zimbabwe Country Representative, Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale, urged prioritizing children in the vaccination campaign, emphasizing the dual benefit of preventing new infections and protecting women, thus safeguarding households.

Harare City Health Director Prosper Chonzi encouraged citizens to get vaccinated, emphasizing the vaccine's 100 percent effectiveness and safety, with the added note that it is provided free of charge.

Source - newzimbabwe