National Polio vaccination campaign launched . . . targets over 2 million children under the age of five Dr John Mangwiro

Bongani Ndlovu, Online Reporter

ZIMBABWE has officially launched the National Polio Vaccination Campaign which will run from October 27 to 30 targeting at least 95 percent of the about 2.5 million children under five years in the country.

Speaking at the launch in Harare today, Deputy Minister of health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro said the national vaccination drive is being implemented in collaboration with four regional countries; Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. “In the spirit of leaving no one behind the Ministry together with partners World Health Organisation and UNICEF Zimbabwe will deploy teams to conduct door-to-door mobilisation and vaccination in all areas in the country,” posted the Ministry on Twitter.

In Bulawayo, the local authority will tomorrow roll out the vaccination campaign at all Municipal Clinics, Central hospitals, Mater Dei hospital, private surgeries offering vaccination, crèches, Primary Schools, market places bus terminals and outreach points including house-to-house.

In conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Childcare and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, the local authority will take part in the national vaccination campaign that ends next Monday.

The second phase of the programme will be held from December 1 to 4.

Recently the Ministry of Health and Childcare said it was concerned by an outbreak of polio disease in neighbouring countries and children under five years are at high risk of contracting polio.

Malawi and Mozambique are experiencing a polio epidemic pushing surrounding countries to embark on vaccination campaigns.

Poliovirus is very contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact. It lives in an infected person’s throat and intestines. It can contaminate food and water in unsanitary conditions.

Poliovirus only infects people. It enters the body through the mouth. It spreads through contact with the faeces of an infected person and droplets from a sneeze or cough of an infected person, although less common.

An infected person can spread the virus to others immediately before and up to two weeks after symptoms appear. The virus can live in an infected person’s intestines for many weeks.

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