Measles outbreak in Zimbabwe, 700 children killed so far, UNICEF worries

Measles outbreak in Zimbabwe, 700 children killed so far, UNICEF worries


So far 700 children have died of measles in Zimbabwe.
UNICEF has also expressed concern over the increasing number of cases.
The government is running a massive criticism campaign.

Harare (Zimbabwe). The number of children who have lost their lives to a measles outbreak in Zimbabwe has risen to nearly 700. This information was given by the Ministry of Health of the country. Some are calling for legislation to make vaccination mandatory in a country where a population of 1.5 million is influenced by religious sects opposed to modern medicine. The country’s health ministry announced over the weekend that 698 children had died from the disease since the measles outbreak began in April.

The ministry said 37 of these deaths occurred in a single day on September 1. The health ministry said it has registered 6,291 cases as of 4 September. The latest figures are more than four times the death toll announced nearly two weeks ago, when the ministry said that 157 children had succumbed to the disease. The ministry said that most of these children were not condemned because of their family’s religious beliefs.

President of the Zimbabwe Association of Medical and Dental Private Practitioners, Dr. Johannes Marisa said on Monday that the government should intensify the ongoing vaccination campaign on a large scale and launch awareness programs specifically targeted to anti-vaccination religious groups.

“The government should also consider punitive measures to ensure that no one is allowed to refuse to vaccinate their children,” Marissa said. He also urged to consider enacting a law making vaccination mandatory.

UNICEF said on Monday it was “deeply concerned” about the number of children dying from measles. The agency said it is assisting the government in combating disease outbreaks through vaccination programmes. The measles outbreak first occurred in the former Manikland province in early April and has since spread to all parts of the country.

Education Minister Monica Mutswangwa said in August that many children had died that were not criticized. The Zimbabwe cabinet has enacted the Disaster Management Act to deal with the outbreak of this disease. The government has launched a massive vaccination campaign for children in the age group of 6 months to 15 years.

tags: united nations, Zimbabwe


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