AN eight year old Kambuzuma school girl reacted to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine during the vaccination period amidst indications that her teacher had to foot a $100 medical bill to assist the girl.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The program ran from May 14 to May 18 after government had rolled out a campaign targeting girls aged between 9 to 14 years was launched in various parts of the country as part of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommended preventive measures against cervical cancer.
The teacher at Rukudzo Primary School gave in to the demands of furious relatives who spewed venom on her for being irresponsible with the kids. This revelation came from City of Harare Principal Nursing Officer Philomina Chitando who was represented by Clinic Matron Maria Makunike.
PNO Chitando said the child in question was the only one who reacted to the vaccine to show signs of headache, weakness and vomiting.
“We recorded one adverse reaction following the vaccination which was recorded. The adverse events from vaccination. This was at a primary school called Rukudzo in Kambuzuma.The DOB of the child was 9 April 2010. This child was 8 years old.
“The date of visit at the school was 18 May 2018. The child was vaccinated on 18 May 2018 at 10am. The vaccine name was Cevarix which was the name of the HPV vaccine used countrywide. The batch number was HPVN272AB and the expiry date was October 2020. On Day One Presentation and Management to the child.”
She also added that on the 18th of May which was the day the child was vaccinated, around 1700hours the child started complaining of headache and general body weaknesses post the immunisation.
The relatives took the child to Surbaban medical centre in Warren park. The vital signs included temperature at 36, 5 degrees celcius, her weight was 31, 8 Kilograms, oxygen saturation was 99 percent.
“The child was discharged home on the 21 st of May 2018. Our community sister did a follow up on the child on the 21 st of May in the hospital,” said the PNO.
She said the child’s relatives demanded the class teacher to cover the medical costs incurred.
“On the 22 nd of may the community sister had to make a home visit to assess the condition of the child. The child was seen to be stable and was playing. The child’s aunt narrated that the child was now well and was to go back at school on the 23 rd of May which was the following day. It was also reported that the child’s teacher was asked to pay $100 which was a shortfall of the medical bill at the Surbuban clinic. A follow up was made to the school to reassure the headmaster and the class teacher about the incident in the AEFI,” said PNO Chitando.
Explaining how the teacher was arm twisted into paying the bills, PNO Chitando said the relatives argued that the teacher was supposed to be on the look out for the school kids.
“The teacher actually paid the shortfall because the relatives were saying there was need for her to pay that money. The relatives thought that the class teacher should have sort of controlled the children who were being vaccinated,” she said.
With the child below the targeted age group, the relatives still could not understand that these adverse reactions occur although they are rare.
“The child was 8 years old and there was error which was made in recording the age because the child was 8 years old. The targeted group was 10 years old so the child was not supposed to be vaccinated although the vaccine did not have any harm on that age group. As you know what happens with people, the relatives took it as if the teacher was not really responsible for the children, or taking care of them or looking after the queues.
Doing everything while this child was vaccinated at such an age and our nurses had to counsel the relatives on the incident because they were very bitter. When they approached the class teacher they were still furious about the incident and they asked her to pay the bills. But they have since been reassured to visit the headmaster, the school teacher. Apparently the aunt is also a school teacher somewhere else,” said PNO Chitando.