from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – AT least 639 children have this year reportedly died from an outbreak of measles in Zimbabwe.
The deaths are from 5 735 cases documented in the impoverished Southern African nation since April.
Health stakeholders in Zimbabwe are attempting to contain the outbreak that started in the eastern Manicaland province and is now exponentially increasing in all parts of the country.
Stakeholders include the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Fears are growing as the schools are about to reopen (they opened on Monday) for the third term and as residents of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, face a potable water crisis,” read a statement by ECHO.
More than half of the registered cases have not been vaccinated.
WHO warned in April about the increase in measles in vulnerable countries as a result of a disruption of services due to COVID-19.
The Zimbabwean government has called for international support to accelerate the vaccination coverage and engage with traditional and faith leaders to support the strategy.
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by a virus of the same name.
Children younger than five years of age are most vulnerable.
Zimbabwe’s health sector has not been spared the economic turmoil that has exceeded 20 years.
– CAJ News