health1.jpgThe Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and its partners in the campaign code named Combined National Measles Immunization and Child Health days for 2010 have dismissed as baseless allegations by some people that they are using an experimental drug in the immunization programme which started today.

Stakeholders in the health sector gathered at a local hotel in Harare for the launch of the National Immunization and Child Health days 2010, which will run until the 2nd of June, with a call for strong engagement and deep involvement by all, to reduce the number of children who are dying of preventable diseases.

 

Health and Child Welfare Minister ,DR Henry Madzorera assured Zimbabweans that the drugs that are used during these campaigns are genuine and meet the World Health Organisation standards and implored all parents and guardians with children below the age of 15 to have them vaccinated.
 
“Parents must not listen to lies that are peddled with no basis. My ministry will continue to fight a growing measles outbreak and arrest plummeting immunization coverage. Every child reacts after being vaccinated by either getting a hot body or fever but this must not be taken to mean that the drugs are unreliable,” said Dr. Madzorera. 

 

This comes in the wake of reported cases of people who are sending messages advising parents not to take their children for vaccination, claiming that an experimental drug will be administered.

 

World Health Organization country representative Dr Custodia Mandhlate and UNICEF country representative Dr Peter Salama also refuted the claims and urged parents to help eradicate and eliminate preventable diseases by having their children vaccinated.

 

“More than US$8 million has been spent to ensure adequate vaccines. Logistics and staff have been put in place for a smooth supply chain of vaccines to reach even the most remote populations. There is no way that expired or experimental drugs can be brought into the country”,said Dr Mandhlate.

 

A number of children were vaccinated at the launch and received the vitamin A supplement.

 An apostolic sect member Mrs. Rosemary Muchemwa also had her one year old son Eric Muchemwa vaccinated.

    
Vaccine preventable diseases still remain a major cause of morbidity and disability mainly among children in the African region.

 

Since September 2009, around 30 African countries including Zimbabwe have experienced resurgence of measles outbreak.

 

 In Zimbabwe an outbreak occurred in 8 provinces and a total of 7120 suspected cases were recorded with 384 deaths having been recorded from the 55 of the 62 districts.

The combined Measles National Immunization and child health days will be carried out in all the 62 districts in the country and will involve the administration of the measles vaccine to all children below the age of 15 years.

 

Vitamin A supplementation, as well as antigens for those aged 5years and below and is expected to cover 5 million children.