The Sunday Mail
Gender and Community Editor
The GOVERNMENT will roll out a national door-to-door vaccination campaign against measles before schools reopen for the forthcoming third term to contain an outbreak of the disease that has claimed 157 lives.
Children aged six months to 15 years are being targeted for the mass vaccination campaign.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care is also targeting communities well-known for resisting vaccination, such as apostolic sects.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Director for Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Munyaradzi Dobbie said they will identify children who are not vaccinated, including in communities that traditionally resist the programme.
“We know the communities and apart from routine vaccination we will carry out door-to-door campaigns under the National Supplementary Vaccination Programme. Progress we made previously is we identified many unvaccinated children.
“We spoke to resistant communities and they agreed that we could carry out the vaccinations, after which they could go ahead to wash their children with water, in line with their religious beliefs.
“The law is clear that no one forbids a child to be vaccinated. We also identify unvaccinated children when they enrol for school,” he said.
The Government’s action to invoke the Civil Protection Unit Act to deal with the outbreak which has claimed lives in Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Midlands and Masvingo provinces, follows a Cabinet resolution announced last week.
The first case of measles this year was reported in Mutasa district, Manicaland province in April. As at August 15 2022 measles cases had risen to 2056 cases.
Apostolic Women’s Empowerment Trust National Director, Ms Tendai Gudo said they continue to raise awareness among apostolic communities on importance of seeking health services.
“We are encouraging apostolic members to get treatment and partake in this measles vaccination blitz. We have received very positive response from churches on health matters and we hope to continue saving lives.”