THE Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care has launched a Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine into routine childhood immunisation in Zimbabwe, as part of a broader strategy to eliminate epidemic prone diseases.
By Patricia Mashiri
The vaccination campaign which is set to start on 24 May up to 4 June 2021 will provide catch up Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine vaccination for over 6 million children aged 9 months to below 15 years in line with recommendations from global and local immunisation experts. Thereafter all children in Zimbabwe will begin to receive Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine through routine immunisation at 9 months of age.
Speaking during the launch the Minister of Health and Child Care said the vaccination program is done to try and reduce the increasing deaths of children because of typhoid and is also aimed at improving health care.
The introduction of Typhoid vaccines is being done in line with government’s thrust to improve the quality of life of citizens of this country, particularly children, by protecting them from disease outbreaks using vaccines. We have not forgotten ladies and gentlemen that in recent history the country has been affected by increasing episodes of Typhoid outbreaks with our cities like Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru being the epicentres.
“With each new episode there have been increasing numbers of cases and deaths with the majority of these being children. This has largely been due to chronic poor Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) conditions which have been exacerbated by overcrowding and seasonal water shortages in some of these affected places,” said Minister Chiwenga.
All children in Zimbabwe will begin to receive Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine through routine immunisation at 9 months of age and this is set to reduce the number of children susceptible to Typhoid in the country and move forward government’s agenda to eliminate Typhoid and other outbreak prone diseases like Cholera.
He added that the Typhoid Conjugate vaccination program will give opportunity to integrate other routine vaccines and supplements.
“Given the massive investments into this campaign by government and its partners, an opportunity will be taken to integrate other routine vaccines and supplements to the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine campaign as follows to realise maximum benefit.
“Inactivated Polio Vaccine-this will target a cohort of around 1.3 million children under 5 years who missed this vaccine as from 2016 due to a global shortage Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine-targeting girls in schools and in the community with due and overdue routine doses . Vitamin A supplementation- targeting all children aged 6 to 59 months (5 years).”
He added this drive will ensure that all children aged from 6 months to just below 15 years of age should visit the nearest vaccination point during these 10 days for vaccination and vitamin A supplementation. Mobile teams will also visit all schools and community outreach points throughout this period.
Meanwhile, Tajudeen Oyewale, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative has applauded Zimbabwe for being one of the first countries to implement the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine.
“This is a happy day for Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has been one of the first countries to implement the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine and other countries should emulate as the first against typhoid has not been good,” Oyewale said.