Zimbabwe to roll-out fourth round Polio Vaccination

The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) and its partners will be rolling out the fourth round of Polio Vaccination from 10 to 13 October 2023 across the country’s 10 provinces.

By Staff Reporter

The move follows the discovery of Cases of Poliomyelitis disease that were detected among children in countries neighboring Zimbabwe in 2022. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), children under 5 years of age in Zimbabwe remain at high risk of getting this disease.

According to the Ministry of Health E Programme on Immunisation (EPI), “Polio is a dangerous disease that can cause paralysis or death in children. Protect your child by having them vaccinated against polio. Health Workers will visit homes to vaccinate all children below 5 years of age even if they have received the vaccine in previous rounds.”

The first round of Polio Vaccination was conducted from 27 to 30 October 2022, the second round was conducted from 01 to 04 December 2022, the third round was conducted from 23 to 26 May 2023 and the fourth round is scheduled for 10 to 13 October 2023.

“Poliomyelitis, commonly known as Polio, is a highly infectious disease that attacks the body’s nervous system. Sometimes the virus can attack the nerves in the spine leading to paralysis. In serious cases this can become permanent, leading to a loss of use of the limbs. Polio can also paralyze the muscles responsible for breathing and swallowing and without medical intervention death is imminent.”

Polio is spread through ingesting contaminated water or food. Polio is a highly infectious disease spread mainly through close contact with an infected person. The virus only affects humans and is spread through the feces of an infected person or via droplets after someone sneezes or coughs. Infection usually occurs because of poor hand washing or through the consumption of contaminated food or water. Unfortunately, a person can be infectious and transmit the virus even before symptoms develop.
The main symptoms of Polio are Sudden weakness or paralysis of limbs. Sudden failure to walk or crawl. Zimbabwe is collaborating with six other countries in the region (Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia) that are also conducting similar vaccination campaigns to protect children.

“All children under 5 years of age regardless of their polio vaccination status. Even if your child was previously vaccinated in previous rounds, he /she should still get vaccinated for increased protection. Children who were vaccinated in the first and second round should come back during the third and subsequent rounds to get the recommended supplementary polio vaccine doses as long as they are still below 5 years of age. All new-born babies will also be vaccinated against Polio during the campaign
“Caregivers and parents should ensure that all the children under the age of 5 years are vaccinated and encourage others in their respective areas to have their children vaccinated. Health workers will visit your house to vaccinate your child and Vaccinations will also take place at health facilities, schools, markets, churches, bus stations, and all other meeting places,” said the Ministry of Health.

To get more information on the program, citizens are encouraged to talk to a health worker in their area, visit their nearest health center and get more information from healthcare workers, enquire on our tollfree lines 2019 and 393 or on the official Ministry of Health and Child Care online platforms (Official Website, Facebook, Twitter) or visit official online channels of Ministry of Health and Child Care Partners in the program (WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, Crown Agents, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary Foundation).

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