Sharon Chikwanha/Donald Chakamanga
At least six million children between the ages of nine months to 15 years are targeted in government’s Integrated Typhoid Conjugate Vaccination campaign in line with recommendations from global and local immunisation experts.
Health and Child Care Minister Constantino Chiwenga launched the programme on Friday with the vaccination campaign starting on Monday and ending on June 4 this year.
Launching the programme, Vice President Chiwenga said the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) will be introduced into routine childhood immunization in Zimbabwe as part of a broader strategy to eliminate epidemic prone diseases.
He said the introduction of Typhoid vaccines is being done in line with government’s thrust to improve the quality of life of citizens particularly children, by protecting them from disease outbreaks using vaccines.
Chiwenga said Zimbabwe had been affected by increasing episodes of Typhoid outbreaks with cities like Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru being the epi-centres.
“With each new episode there have been increasing numbers of cases and deaths with the majority of these being children,” he said. “This has largely been due to chronic poor Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) conditions which have been exacerbated by overcrowding and seasonal water shortages in some of these affected places.”
CHiwenga said the introduction of Typhoid vaccines becomes a critical public health measure to complement government current focus in rehabilitating obsolete WASH infrastructure in urban centres.
“Access to safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene remain the mainstay of typhoid prevention and control in the long term,” he said.
Mobile teams have been set up to visit all schools and community outreach points throughout the country.
Chiwenga said the government’s Vision 2030 cannot be achieved in the context of disruptive outbreaks of diseases like Typhoid and Cholera.
He called on Zimbabweans to ensure that all children in their care who are eligible for Typhoid, Polio and HPV vaccination and Vitamin A supplementation visit vaccination centres between 24 May and 04 June 2021 to receive these life saving interventions.