Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
About 325 000 residents between the ages of six months and 45 years from nine selected high-density and typhoid-burdened suburbs in Harare will from Monday start receiving vaccinations against typhoid, making Zimbabwe the first country in Africa to vaccinate against typhoid, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has said.
Addressing journalists at a Press conference held in Harare yesterday, Dr Moyo said this mass vaccination followed evidence that typhoid was becoming endemic in some parts of Harare, with seasonal peaks between October and March of each year since 2010.
Dr Moyo said the nine typhoid hot spots that are being targeted are Mufakose, Budiriro, Glen View, Glen Norah, Kuwadzana, Mbare, Hatcliffe, Hopley and Dzivarasekwa.
He said in Mbare, the vaccination will cover residents between the ages of six months and 48 years, while the rest of the vaccination in other suburbs will cover children between six months and 15 years.
“We have hit a first once again as Zimbabwe by launching this mass typhoid vaccination campaign that will be conducted in nine high density suburbs from next week until the 4th of March 2019,” said Dr Moyo.
He said this campaign followed the successful cholera oral vaccination campaign conducted last year, in which about 1,3 million people received vaccination against cholera.
Dr Moyo said the typhoid conjugate vaccine is expected to reduce the endemic cases of typhoid in the affected areas.
He said data has shown that cases of drug-resistant typhoid are also on the increase, and the vaccine is also anticipated to address that challenge.
“It is upon this background that this intervention is necessary to avert continued loss of lives and illnesses while we continue working with the local authority in the provision of safe and adequate water as well as general sanitation in these affected areas,” said Dr Moyo.
He said data has shown that in areas such as Mbare, typhoid was affecting all age groups, hence the need to vaccinate both children and adults, whereas in other suburbs it was mostly affecting children between the ages of 6 months and 15 years.
“Typhoid and cholera are potentially fatal water-borne diseases.
“The typhoid vaccine, which protects against typhoid fever will be injected into the thigh for under fives and into the arm for people over five years.
“The vaccine will be given at local clinics, outreach centres, schools, churches, bus termini and market places,” said Dr Moyo.