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Zim Surpasses 4 Million Polio Vaccination Target

The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) in collaboration with UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), US Centre for Disease Control (USCDC) and other partners have surpassed the four million target for polio vaccination using the nOPV2 vaccine.

This follows the confirmation of circulating poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in Zimbabwe.

A total of 4,633, 015 vaccinated across Zimbabwe during the four-day mass campaign that concluded on 23 February 2024.

Targeting all children under 10 years old, this nationwide campaign aimed to swiftly stop the spread of the Polio virus and prevent future outbreaks.

The campaign followed the detection of a Polio outbreak through sewage samples collected in Harare during routine environmental surveillance. Additionally, intensified disease surveillance by the MoHCC identified one human case of polio in Mashonaland West.

“While this campaign marks a significant milestone, our fight against polio is not over. We must remain vigilant and continue to prioritize routine childhood immunizations to ensure lasting protection,” said Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Douglas Mombeshora.

Vaccination teams adopted a two-pronged approach, deploying mobile units to deliver doses directly to homes and stationing personnel at health facilities to ensure widespread coverage.

“This recent vaccination campaign was crucial and we applaud Government of Zimbabwe efforts to ensure every child in Zimbabwe is protected,” said Professor Jean-Marie Dangou, Acting WHO Representative to Zimbabwe.


“WHO remains a key partner and will continue to provide the necessary technical expertise to support Zimbabwe in its ongoing fight against this disease,” he added.

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The campaign also incorporated the Open Data Kit (ODK) to facilitate real-time data sharing and improve campaign efficiency.

Zimbabwe became the first country to utilize the nOPV2 vaccine after its prequalification by WHO in January this year, three years after it received its Emergency Use Listing (EUL). By early January, 950 million doses had been delivered worldwide, with Nigeria administering nearly half a billion doses.

The nOPV2 vaccine helps to protect children from polio while lowering the risk of vaccine-derived outbreaks. In the African region, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, are some of the countries that have successfully used the vaccine.

WHO has played a crucial role in supporting Zimbabwe’s response to the recent polio outbreak, including conducting the nationwide vaccination campaign. In collaboration with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners like UNICEF, Rotary International, BMGF, USCDC and GAVI, WHO played a key role in ensuring the timely and sufficient supply of nOPV2 vaccines, cold chain equipment, and other critical resources for the campaign. Furthermore, WHO provided crucial training to healthcare workers on the proper administration of the nOPV2 vaccine.

In addition, WHO contributed to strengthening of routine immunization and bolstering surveillance systems for both environmental and clinical polio cases, enabling early virus detection and swift response efforts. This comprehensive approach by WHO has significantly contributed to Zimbabwe’s efforts to control the polio outbreak and safeguard its population from this debilitating disease.

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