Zim rolls out Polio vaccination campaign targetting all communities
...hard-to-reach areas included
By JOANNA DIMA
HARARE– Zimbabwe has rolled out a massive Polio vaccination campaign in the communities including hard-to-reach areas.
The vaccination campaign is targeting children under five regardless of their previous vaccination history.
More than 2.5 million children under five years of age are targeted in the first vaccination round.
The first round of vaccination will take place over the next four days (October 27 -30) with a second round planned for December.
Polio is a debilitating disease that can cause permanent disability and even death.
The country declared polio-free by the World Health Organisation in 2005, is yet to record its first case of wild polio virus since 1989.
The campaign is part of a comprehensive response to Polio outbreaks reported in Malawi and Mozambique recently.
Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia are also currently carrying out coordinated vaccination campaigns, with more than 40 million doses administered during the first three rounds of the exercise, following the detection of the first case of wild poliovirus in Malawi in 30 years.
During the launch yesterday, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro said in addition to the vaccination drive, they would also conduct intensified community engagement awareness campaigns on polio.
The blitz which includes door-to-door polio mobilisation and vaccination in all areas cover will also the hard-to-reach areas in all provinces, districts and health facilities, Dr Mangwiro added.
He said the vaccination drive feeds into the broader Government vision of a healthy and prosperous nation as enshrined in the National Health Strategy and the National Development Strategy (1).
WHO country representative, Dr Alex Gasasira urged all parents and communities to present their children aged under five years for vaccination over the next three days.
“We call upon parents and communities to present their children aged under five years for vaccination over the next three days. Let us all do our best to support all parents, including those in hard-to-reach communities to get their children immunized.”
Dr Gasasira lauded health workers at all levels of the health care system, staff from other government ministries and departments, political, traditional, and religious leaders as well as stakeholders from NGOs, CBOs, philanthropic and voluntary organisations, the private sector and the media for their work in the campaign.
UNICEF representative for Zimbabwe, Dr Tajudeen Oyewale said the impact of polio paralysis has lifelong implications for children and by extension their families, the society, and the nation.
Technical and funding support from WHO, Unicef, Gavi, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary Club, Crown Agents, the Vaccine Alliance, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).