H Metro


- Talent Gore

THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has assured the nation that the recent measles outbreak, which was recorded in Mutasa District, Manicaland, was under control as the Government had launched a mass vaccinatio­n campaign in the area.

Last week, the Ministry recorded 14 deaths and 72 cases of measles, mainly affecting children aged between 6 months to 15 years.

In a statement, the Ministry said the situation was under control and there was no need to panic.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) is mounting a nationwide campaign to increase vaccinatio­n coverage to avoid the spread of the measles outbreak,” MoHCC said.

“We are encouragin­g people to bring their children for vaccinatio­n at the nearest health facilities, our teams will be traveling to reach areas and offer measles vaccinatio­n for free.

“In order to control this outbreak, the Health Ministry has started a mass vaccinatio­n campaign in Mutasa District, Manicaland Province, targeting the 6 months to 15 years’ age group, regardless of their vaccinatio­n status. Health workers are carrying out an intensive door-todoor education campaign against this disease.”

According to the Ministry, the World Health Organisati­on (WHO) has been notified of this outbreak as per requiremen­ts.

“All provinces are being encouraged to be on high alert and report any suspected measles to the nearest health facility,” the statement added.

However, some children do not receive the vaccine owing to various reasons, chief among them religious belief.

Measles is a highly virulent respirator­y tract viral infection commonly found in children and is spread through sneezing, coughing, and touching/contact. Symptoms start with a cough, fever, followed by a rash on the skin.

The risk of developing severe measles, or dying from complicati­ons of measles, is high in unvaccinat­ed children.

Zimbabwe has been offering the measles vaccine for years, to children at nine months, as part of the routine immunisati­on schedule.

The country experience­d its worst outbreak of measles in 2010, which resulted in over 10 000 confirmed cases and over 500 deaths.

Globally, measles cases have been increasing with almost 17,338 measles cases being reported worldwide in January and February 2022, compared to 9,665 during the first two months of 2021, a 79 percent rise.

According to the WHO and UNICEF, the worrying rise in cases could trigger larger outbreaks.

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