Polio vaccination campaign begins in Vic Falls

Victoria Falls City has identified 69 vaccination sites where 16 teams will carry out vaccination during the four-day National Oral Polio Vaccination campaign that starts Thursday.

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease that largely affects children under 5 years of age. The virus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis and disability.

The city targets to vaccinate 1 000 children per day and to have covered 95 percent of the eligible population when the campaign closes on Sunday.

The target age group is from birth to 59 months.

While Zimbabwe has gone for 23 years without recording new cases of the viral disease, the vaccination exercise is being given importance owing to new cases recorded in the region in Malawi and Mozambique.

Basically, several other countries are carrying out the exercise in the region in line with the World Health Organisation requirements, health authorities said.

The world marked World Polio Day on Monday, as 24 October was set aside to commemorate the day every year.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care is spearheading the programme in partnership with local authorities.

The council on Monday used a hailer to notify residents around the city’s suburbs about the vaccination programme.

“Bring all children below the age of 59 for vaccination at your nearest selected station,” said health workers moving in an ambulance.

The stations are mostly schools, health facilities and private properties.

Saturday and Sunday will be for mop-up exercise and reaching out to those that would have been missed in the first two days.

The last case of polio in the country was recorded in Mangwe district in Matabeleland South in 1999.

The country was certified polio-free in 2005 and there have been no new cases.

A World Health Organisation report states that a poliovirus outbreak in Malawi in February this year necessitated Zimbabwe to conduct a detailed polio risk analysis which identified sub-national surveillance and routine immunisation gaps that put the country at high risk of attack through the importation of the virus.

Zimbabwe and Malawi share a very mobile population of informal traders.

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