UNICEF commends Zimbabwe for successfully rolling out cholera vaccination drive

  • World
  • Thursday, 22 Feb 2024

HARARE, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF has commended Zimbabweans for embracing the oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaign, which has helped subdue the one-year cholera outbreak.

The Zimbabwean government launched the OCV targeting 2.3 million people in cholera hotspots in the country, including children above the age of one year, on Jan. 29 this year, in a bid to control the outbreak, which has been raging in the country since February last year.

Giving an update on the cholera situation in the country after a post-Cabinet meeting Tuesday, Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said as of Feb. 13, Zimbabwe had administered a total of 1,585,327 doses of the 1,712,017 received in the country so far.

The targeted provinces had coverage of more than 90 percent, except for Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, which had 73.4 percent coverage. Vaccination is continuing in Harare.

Speaking to Xinhua in a recent interview, UNICEF Country Representative in Zimbabwe Tajudeen Oyewale said the slow pace in Harare was because the vaccines were coming into the country in batches.

He said as of Monday this week, Zimbabwe had taken delivery of all the 2.3 million doses of the cholera vaccine that it requested, and he hoped that the vaccination campaign would be stepped up and completed in the next few weeks.

"With the vaccination, the number of new cases is declining, and with that decline, we are beginning to see fewer people going to hospitals, and because we are seeing fewer people going to hospitals, the health workers now have more time to care for the people who are sick, and we are also beginning to see fewer deaths," Oyewale said.

Oyewale praised the strong partnership between the Zimbabwean government, donor agencies, and partners for a well-coordinated and joint response in combating the outbreak, including the procurement and rollout of the vaccines.

"More importantly, we want to thank the community people. They believed in the vaccination program, they opened up their homes, schools and workplaces to accept the vaccines," he said.

Buoyed by the success of the vaccination campaign, Muswere said Tuesday that the Zimbabwean government is making efforts to procure an additional 6.3 million doses of cholera vaccines to consolidate the success of the initial vaccination program, which has significantly slowed down the outbreak.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Zimbabwe's cumulative suspected cholera cases stood at 25,280 as of Monday this week, with 24,577 recoveries and 71 confirmed deaths.

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