The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporter
Government will conduct a national measles and rubella (MR) vaccination supplementation campaign in September as part of efforts to eliminate the disease by next year.
Rubella, also known as three-day measles or German measles, is a contagious viral infection that manifests as a distinctive red rash.
This year’s programme will mainly target communities and groups which normally do not receive vaccinations due to religious beliefs or inaccessibility due to geography.
The vaccination campaign will run from September 23 to September 27.
Children below 5 years will get a vitamin A supplement and a measles-rubella vaccine irrespective of their vaccination status.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Child Care shows that although Zimbabwe has been recording a decline in the disease, there are some children who miss routine vaccination, risking infection.
“Children who were missed by routine MR vaccination for various reasons and those who did not develop full protection after being vaccinated have contributed to the accumulation of children who were at risk of getting measles since the last vaccination campaign in 2015,” part of the statement reads.
“The vaccination campaign is in line with the country’s commitment to eliminate measles by 2020 together with the rest of the world.
“Measles and rubella are highly infectious diseases which can cause disability or death. The measles-rubella vaccination is being done to protect all Zimbabwean children from measles or rubella outbreak in Zimbabwe.
“Vitamin A helps to protect children from childhood illnesses and night blindness.”
Measles — an airborne infection causing fever, coughing and rashes that can be deadly in rare cases — has been officially eliminated in many countries with advanced healthcare systems.
However, there have been re-occurrence of the disease in some African countries due to some sections that abscond vaccination due to various reasons.
The World Health Organisation says that vaccine-preventable diseases claim the lives of more than half-a-million children younger than 5 years every year in Africa, representing 56 percent of the global deaths related to vaccine-preventable diseases.