Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
THE immunisation campaign against rubella and measles diseases has received overwhelming response with parents in the rural areas also taking their children for vaccination. Speaking to journalists on Thursday during a field visit at Concession, the district’s medical officer Dr Christine Magadza, said by day two of the campaign, the district had already immunised 40 percent of the targeted population.
“We are targeting to immunise about 99 900 children between the ages of nine and 15 years, but as of Tuesday, we had immunised nearly 38 000 children,” said Dr Magadza. At least 39 percent of the targeted children had also received Vitamin A supplement by the second day of the campaign.The district used village health workers to sensitise communities about the national immunisation programme.
“We have very few objectors and we are optimistic that we will meet our target,” she said. In a separate interview, the sister in charge of Tsungubvi Clinic in Glendale, Mr Fanuel Runganga, echoed Dr Magadza’s sentiments. “During the first day we immunised 520 children, second day we immunised 830 and on day three we immunised 770 children,” he said.
The national immunisation campaign started on Monday. Mr Runganga said so far the programme was running smoothly. Some of the parents interviewed expressed gratitude in Government’s efforts in promoting the health of their children. “We really appreciate what our Government is doing in an effort to curb prevalence of preventable diseases,” said Mrs Tatenda Kanyemba from Ramahori Farm in Concession. Even though there are long queues, they are moving very fast — a situation that is quiet encouraging because you do not want to spend the whole day waiting for a service,” she added.
Government expects to immunise five million children under 15 years with the new measles-rubella vaccine. As of Tuesday, 1 900 000 children had been immunised countrywide. However, there were unconfirmed reports of resistance by some elite schools. But in a statement on Thursday, Government reiterated that while parents or guardians had a right to make decisions on behalf of their children, it was also a right for the children to access basic services such as health.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care would like to inform the public that in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe section 60 (4), which states that while parents and guardians have the right to determine, in accordance with their beliefs, the moral and religious upbringing of their children, they should not prejudice the rights to which their children are entitled under this Constitution, including their rights to education, health, safety and welfare.