Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
MORE than 52 000 people between the ages of six months and 48 years have undergone typhoid vaccination as the country leads in the first ever mass typhoid vaccination in Africa.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said the vaccination programme, which commenced on Monday last week and is expected to be complete on July 4, had a successful kick off and was running smoothly.
The Ministry is targeting to vaccinate 325 000 people.
The Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Portia Manangazira, said the typhoid vaccination programme would be followed by a cholera vaccination exercise scheduled for mid-March.
“Second dose (OCV2) phase is being planned for mid-March for Epworth and Chitungwiza while Harare is currently undergoing typhoid vaccination,” she said.
Dr Manangazira said the vaccination programme was important to prevent the epidemic spreading to other parts of the country and described the first phase of the programme as a success.
She called on Zimbabweans across the country to uphold high standards of hygiene in order to safeguard themselves from potential waterborne diseases.
Addressing journalists recently, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo, said the mass vaccination followed evidence that typhoid was becoming endemic in some parts of Harare, with seasonal peaks between October and March of each year since 2010.
Dr Moyo said the nine typhoid hot spots that are being targeted are Mufakose, Budiriro, Glen View, Glen Norah, Kuwadzana, Mbare, Hatcliffe, Hopley and Dzivarasekwa.
He said in Mbare, the vaccination would cover residents between the ages of six months and 48 years, while the rest of the vaccination in other suburbs would cover children between six months and 15 years.
Dr Moyo said the typhoid conjugate vaccine is expected to reduce the endemic cases of typhoid in the affected areas.
He said data has shown that cases of drug-resistant typhoid are also on the increase, and the vaccine is also anticipated to address that challenge.
“It is upon this background that this intervention is necessary to avert continued loss of lives and illnesses while we continue working with the local authority in the provision of safe and adequate water as well as general sanitation in these affected areas,” said Dr Moyo.
He said data has shown that in areas such as Mbare, typhoid was affecting all age groups, hence the need to vaccinate both children and adults, whereas in other suburbs it was mostly affecting children between the ages of 6 months and 15 years.