Boitumelo Makhurane, Chronicle Reporter
MORE than three million children countrywide had received the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) by last Thursday since the launch of the programme on May 24.
TCV helps to prevent typhoid fever, which is a life-threatening infection and outbreaks are increasing in the country.
Typhoid is a life-threatening condition caused by a bacteria called salmonella typhi and infection results in high death rates.
Bulawayo, by Thursday last week had vaccinated 220 398 children against a target of 245 000.
The new Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) is set to protect children aged below 15 years from typhoid which has been detected in Bulawayo, Harare and Gweru.
The TCV targets over six million children between nine months and 15 years in line with recommendations from global and local immunisation experts.
The programme is being rolled out by health authorities in conjunction with the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry.
The rolling out of the TCV started on May 24 and ended last Friday.
Zimbabwe is the third country in the world to make the TCV part of its routine immunisation programme.
The vaccine was introduced through a nationwide catch-up vaccination campaign which integrates vaccines for polio prevention (IPV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) including Vitamin A supplementation into the campaign.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care the statistics of children who received their TCV are as follows: Typhoid 3 205 640, HPV dose one 1 200 624, HPV dose two 2 119 183, Vitamin A 817 038, IPV 548 559.
The Ministry has said that the campaign ended last Friday but the vaccines are still accessible at clinics.
Bulawayo’s director of Health Services Dr Edwin Sibanda said the vaccination has been a success.
“The vaccination programme has been a success because of the positive response from parents who allowed their children to be vaccinated.
“This new vaccine is very effective and will provide protection for at least three years or more with only one dose,” he said.
“The vaccination statistics for Bulawayo are IPV-27 002, TCV-152 667 and vitamin A-40 729 bring the total number of children who have been immunised to 220 398,’’ said Dr Sibanda.
Children below 15 years are the most vulnerable to typhoid which has become a public health burden in Zimbabwe.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has named Bulawayo as one of the cities with high cases of typhoid in the country.
WHO representative Dr Maxwell Rupfutse said typhoid cases were also high in Harare and Gweru due to lack of access to clean water and poor sanitation.
Last year 12 people died and more than 1 500 people fell ill after drinking contaminated tap water in Bulawayo.
Tests carried out on the water samples revealed that the victims had contracted typhoid. — @Boity104