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No cholera vacines for Matebeleland

by Staff reporter
07 Feb 2024 at 04:39hrs | Views
The country has achieved 90 percent coverage of the cholera vaccine in hotspot areas as Zimbabwe is poised to remove cholera as a public health threat in the next few months on the back of a decline in new cases.

Since the launch of the vaccination campaign on January 29, a total of 697 550 vaccine doses have been administered.

The country initially received 892 296 doses that are currently being administered in hotspot districts while another batch of 493 150 doses has since been received and dispatched to Mutare rural and urban districts where vaccination will commence today.

These are part of the 2,3 million doses allocated to the country by the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision.

The last batch of 418 000 vaccine doses are expected in the country on February 10.

The campaign will reach people living in 160 wards within 26 high risk districts in Harare, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Masvingo and Midlands.

Addressing a media briefing yesterday, cholera incidence manager in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Isaac Phiri said the country had recorded significant progress in the vaccination campaign.

"Uptake is good, people are coming forward to receive the vaccine and we have not recorded any pockets of resistance. For Harare, yesterday they were doing a mop up exercise because they had used all the vaccines that they had been allocated. We are looking at 89-90 percent uptake in the targeted areas," he said.

Harare has vaccinated a total of 239 113 people in Kuwadzana paddock areas, Kuwadzana 1,2 and 4, in Budiriro as well as in Glen View 3 where the majority of cases were being reported.

Kariba urban had vaccinated 12 339 while Mberengwa had vaccinated 43 833 people out of the 45 000 targeted population in hotspots in that district.

In Mt Darwin, 119 189 vaccine doses had been administered and another 42 142 doses delivered in Mbire while Mazoe had vaccinated 47 022 people making a coverage of over 86 percent.

"Gutu has so far vaccinated 51 305, Mwenezi has administered 59 831 vaccine doses and in Chiredzi, which we were worried about, we have a coverage of 97 percent after vaccinating 78 876 people. Bikita has vaccinated 43 642 a coverage of 85 percent and they are continuing with vaccination in those areas. Zaka has 37 627 vaccinations making a coverage of 77 percent. So we are happy with the uptake in the districts that have received the vaccines," said Dr Phiri.

"The vaccines we received yesterday (Monday) were meant for Mutare Rural so they have gone to Mutare. As of tomorrow (today) we will start to receive updates from Mutare Rural and urban which are our targeted districts as well as Chimanimani."

He said data for districts that were still recording a surge in cases was being submitted to the ICG to have more vaccines to cover those areas.

Zimbabwe has recorded a total of 22 790 cholera cases and 430 deaths since the onset of the outbreak in February last year and 61 out of the 63 districts in the country have recorded cases.

However, the country has been reporting a decline in the number of new cholera cases over the past two weeks as the interventions being rolled out by the Government begin to bear fruit.

Cabinet yesterday acknowledged that the decline in the cholera outbreak was a direct result of the control measures put in place, including the vaccination exercise.

Responding to questions during a briefing which followed the first Cabinet meeting of 2024, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Douglas Mombeshora, said there was a need to maintain the momentum that had been gained to ensure the country eliminated cholera as a public health threat.

"In the last few weeks we have seen a decline in the hotspots although we had a few cases in new districts that were recording new cases although the general trend is now a decrease. We started vaccinating for cholera last week and since we started we have started seeing a decrease in the cases in the areas that had been vaccinated.

"Here in Harare, we started in Kuwadzana, Glen View and Budiriro where we used to get at least 20 cases a day but for the last two days we have been recording much more reduced cases like in Kuwadzana yesterday we had five new cases, in Budiriro we had seven cases, in Glen View we had five cases," he said.

"What is needed is to maintain what we have started. Cleaning up Harare has helped so we need to maintain that thrust and also increase the vaccination coverage, then we will be on the right track to eliminating cholera. It should also be coupled with the overall approach to remove garbage, maintaining a clean city, provision of safe water and health education. With the thrust that we have maintained, I can safely say cholera will be a thing of the past in the next few months," he said.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, Chitungwiza, Harare, Buhera and Mutare rural areas have been recording a steady decline in cases.

Overall, daily cases which were hovering over 200 in the recent past have declined to between 130 to 150.

To ensure that gains being recorded in the cholera fight continue, the Government has put in place priority actions over a 12-week period.

These include the oral cholera vaccine deployment to the targeted hot spots, procurement of cholera response medicines, supplies and commodities, mobilisation of additional funding to support the cholera response at national and sub-national levels for optimal and comprehensive response to the outbreak.

Government will also deploy law enforcement agents to remove all food vendors from undesignated areas in suburbs, supervise removal of refuse from areas and ensure dumpsites do not re-emerge as well as monitoring gatherings for religious and funeral purposes in known hotspots until the situation has normalised.

Source - The Herald