Talent Gore Herald Correspondent
At least 90 percent of children between five and 16 years were vaccinated during the 2019 typhoid campaign in Harare’s high risk areas, including 74 percent of those aged between six months and four years.
The campaign took place in Harare suburbs of Mufakose, Hopley, Budiriro, Dzivaresekwa, Glen View, Glen Norah, Mbare and Hatcliffe, targeting 325 000 children.
Last year, typhoid killed 29 people, while over 10 000 were treated in Budiriro and Glen View. In 2018, 28 people died and 3 000 cases were reported.
Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Portia Manangazira, said the mass vaccination followed evidence that typhoid was becoming endemic in recent years.
“As a country, we saw the epidemiological information regarding typhoid occurrence from 2016 to 2018 and we realised that each year there was a mounting burden of typhoid despite clinical case management,” she said.
“We also realised from geospatial mapping that there were areas hardest hit by the outbreak over the three years, we also looked at the age distribution.
“Upon doing researches, we noticed that the infection affected children and adults equally, particularly within Harare, but this outbreak was spreading beyond Harare into almost all of our provinces, so there was need to curb the spread of typhoid.”
World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa regional new vaccine introduction officer Dr Phiionah Atuhebwe said Zimbabwe was the first country to have such a huge magnitude scale of typhoid vaccination.
“Zimbabwe had the largest vaccination campaign and this reactive campaign to the vaccine during the typhoid outbreak does not replace the water and sanitation hygiene measures that we are putting in place to curb and prevent the outbreaks,” she said.
“This was put in place to stop the outbreak that had already started, so Zimbabwe is still going ahead and will be the second African country after Liberia to introduce typhoid vaccine nationally to the whole population of children aged between nine months and 15 years because it is a country that is vulnerable to typhoid outbreak.”