Zim Oral Cholera Vaccination Coverage Reaches 90 Percent Milestone

By Michael Gwarisa

Uptake of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCVs) in Zimbabwe has reached 90 percent in the districts where vaccines were deployed since the onset of the campaign on February 29, 2024, HealthTimes has learnt.

Zimbabwe successfully applied for Oral Cholera Vaccines and the country was awarded 2.3 million dosses from what was requested. A total 892,296 OCV dosses were initially received, followed by an additional 493,150 vaccines which arrived February 5, 2024, bringing the total number of vaccines the country has received to 1,884,536 vaccines. The final batch of 418,000 vaccines is arriving on February 10, 2024.

Dr Isaac Phiri, the Cholera Incidence Manager in the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) told a media briefing this morning that the uptake has been impressive so far.

For Harare for example, yesterday they were doing a mop up campaign because they used all the vaccines that were distributed to Harare. We are looking at 89 to 90 percent uptake so far in the targeted areas that we have gone into,” said Dr Phiri.

Since the launch of the OCV campaign in Kuwadzana, a total 697,550 people have to date been vaccinated from the initial batch of vaccines. In Harare, 239, 113 people have so far been vaccinated in Kuwadzana, 1,2 and 4,  in the Paddock area, in Budiriro as well as in Glenview 3 which are the traditional Hotspots. The recent batch of 493,150 will be deployed in Mutare and other districts that are still recording new cases.

In Kariba Urban, a total of 12,339 people had been vaccinated as of yesterday. Mberengwa has vaccinated 43,833 of the 45,000 targeted population in the Hotspots Mberengwa. Mount Darwin has vaccinated 19,189, that’s in Mashonaland Central. Mbire, 42,142, which is a huge uptack as well as Mazowe, 47,022 people were vaccinated, they received the vaccine, making a coverage of over 86% in those districts.

“Gutu which is the other hotspot, so far we have vaccinated 51,305, Mwenezi, 59,831 vaccines. I think in Chirezi, they have a coverage of 97%. They vaccinated 78,876 so we happy with the uptake in the districts that have been receiving the vaccines”

Bikita has to date vaccinated 43,642, a coverage of 85% and they are continuing the vaccination in those areas. Zaka, in Masvingo, 37,627, making a coverage of 77% that’s the target that we’re looking at in those areas. The uptake is good and the people are coming forward to receive the vaccine. I would also want to take this opportunity to say that these vaccines are very safe.”

Meanwhile, the recent rollout of the Oral Cholera Vaccination (OVC) campaign, coupled 
with a cocktail of other interventions by government and partners, has led to a decline 
in Cholera cases over the past seven days.

Zimbabwe recorded its first Cholera case in February 2023 in Mashonaland West province and cumulatively, the cases are now 22,790 in 61 out of 63 districts. In terms of deaths, 430 fatalities have been reported since the onset of the outbreak.

“The trend that we are observing as we do our weekly analysis of the data shows that in the last seven days which is the week ending February 5 2024 and the week that ended last week, for Chitungwiza in the last Seven days, the rolling average, they have reported 77 cases and week ending February 5, 2024, they reported 55 cases which is a decline. The same has happened for Harare from 337 in the last week to 246 this week as we closed our week yesterday,” said Dr Phiri.

In Buhera, a surge was however reported over the past seven days from 37 of 62 cases but Dr Phiri said it was nothing to worry about as the cases were under control and measures have been deployed to attend to the surge.

“It’s nothing to worry about. But in the previous weeks, the cases were going down as well. Chipinge, 57 to 15, that’s a drastic change. Mutare, rural, our hot spot, 36 in the previous week, 19 this week, It’s showing a tangible decrease in cases. Gutu cases went from six to four cases in a week. That’s a lot of improvement in terms of cases because it means there were days that cases were not even being reported in those areas. Bikita, the same.”

Hwange is the latest district to report Cheolra and their cases went from 199 cases in the previous week to 27 this week.

“This means the outbreak is being contained in that district. The other new district that we were worried about was Chiredzi, which continued to report cases 66 last week, and 84 this week. So a lot of effort is being put into those districts that are continuously reporting cases so that we can reduce the numbers of cases being reported in those areas,” added Dr Phiri.

A number of interventions have taken place in terms of cholera response in Zimbabwe. These include the drilling of boreholes in the affected areas, Operation Chenesa Harare mega clean up drive, Oral Cholera Vaccination, health education amongst of other interventions.




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