Correspondent Yeukai Karengezeka Herald
Chitungwiza has responded well to the government’s call for polio vaccination by achieving an overwhelming coverage of 95% of the target population aged five and under.
The first round of the polio vaccination campaign was scheduled to take place from October 27-30.
The second round will take place from December 1 to 4.
The deployment is part of a regional strategy to prevent the resurgence of polio following an outbreak of the disease in Malawi and Mozambique.
In an interview, Chitungwiza city director of health, Dr Tonderai Kasu, told the Herald that they had vaccinated around 70,000 children.
“We are happy to say that as part of the National Polio Immunization Campaign, as Chitungwiza City Health Department, we managed to vaccinate 69,766 against our target population of 73,188 eligible children, which gives an overall coverage rate of 95.3% for Chitungwiza,” he said.
Dr Kasu said St Mary’s Clinic had outstanding turnout.
“Across all of our vaccination centers and vaccination points, St. Mary’s Clinic exceeded its targets as it registered a total of 16,397, giving a coverage rate of 117.915 percent.”
Although health workers managed to investigate 28 cases of acute flaccid paralysis during the reporting period, all tested negative for poliomyelitis.
Currently, Chitungwiza has no active polio cases. The health department visits kindergartens and still offers polio vaccination in all static health facilities including all dormitory town council clinics as part of its sweep exercise.
The local authority managed to organize a strong advocacy and sensitization campaign for the different stakeholders before the start of the vaccination exercise.
Despite differing religious beliefs, members of the apostolic sect answered the call and had their children vaccinated.
Poliomyelitis is a viral disease which, in its most severe form, causes nerve damage leading to paralysis and breathing difficulties.
Zimbabwe last reported a case of polio in 1989 and was declared polio-free in 2005 by the World Health Organization.
The disease can be prevented by giving the oral polio vaccine, which is used worldwide.