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Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeHealthZimbabwe Appeals For Additional Cholera Vaccines

Zimbabwe Appeals For Additional Cholera Vaccines

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has made an urgent appeal to the World Health Organization (WHO) for an increased supply of cholera vaccines.

Addressing the media yesterday, Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Douglas Mombeshora said additional vaccines are needed administer a second dose in order to extend the duration of protection against the disease.

“Those who have received the first dose should get a second dose to get three-year protection so that there is universal coverage for the whole country. One dose will give protection for six months, but ideally, two doses will give protection for three years,” said Mombeshora.

Mombeshora said his ministry has also appealed to government to avail financial resources for cholera vaccine procurement.

“We are appealing to WHO to give us more vaccines, and we have appealed to the government to also avail financial resources so that we can procure the vaccines for ourselves,” Dr Mombeshora added.

Zimbabwe was initially allocated 2.3 million doses of cholera vaccines.

Individuals receiving a single dose were expected to be protected against cholera infections for at least six months.

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The current vaccine supply, manufactured in South Korea, was donated via the WHO and distributed by UNICEF to 26 high-risk districts across seven provinces, including Harare, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Masvingo, and Midlands.

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As of February 12, 2023, Zimbabwe reported over 22,000 cholera cases with a significant upsurge in cases recorded towards the end of last year.

“An upsurge of cases was noticed mid-September last year, and another huge upsurge at the end of December last year,” explained Dr Mombeshora.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has taken proactive measures to address the outbreak including the establishment of 153 cholera treatment camps across the country.

The minister clarified that while the number of deaths related to cholera is approximately 500, only around 60 have been confirmed as cholera-related deaths. The remaining deaths were attributed to diarrhoea and other comorbidities.

Dr Mombeshora urged the public to promptly report any symptoms to the nearest health center, where village health workers are mobilizing efforts to facilitate access to treatment centers. 

He also emphasized the establishment of 33 oral rehydration points throughout communities, where individuals with mild diarrhoea can receive oral fluids. If symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, affected individuals are advised to seek treatment at designated cholera treatment camps.

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