Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomenewsGovernment rolls out 4th polio blitz

Government rolls out 4th polio blitz

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Government rolls out 4th polio blitz


Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]

GOVERNMENT is conducting a four-day polio vaccination ending on Thursday targeting children under the age of five to prevent the outbreak of the crippling disease.

This is the fourth round of polio vaccination after the programme was introduced last year.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said it was collaborating with six countries in Africa to roll out the programme.

“Countries neighbouring Zimbabwe reported cases of Poliomyelitis in 2022 and children under 5 years in Zimbabwe are at high risk of contracting the disease. To protect all children under 5 years, the Government through the Ministry of Health and Childcare is conducting periodic rounds of polio vaccination countrywide to increase immunity against the disease until the threat is over,” read the statement.

“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.”

The periodic polio vaccination programme is starting today and ending on Friday.

This is the second time that the Government is rolling out the polio vaccination exercise as it was initially conducted in May this year while other blitzes were held last year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes polio as a highly infectious disease caused by a virus and can invade the nervous system causing total paralysis in a matter of hours.

“The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (for example, contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and pain in the limbs,” says WHO.

It further states that one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs).

“Among those paralysed, 5–10 percent die when their breathing muscles become immobilised. Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age. However, anyone of any age who is unvaccinated can contract the disease,” says WHO.

“There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life. There are two vaccines available: oral polio vaccine and inactivated polio vaccine. Both are effective and safe, and both are used in different combinations worldwide, depending on local epidemiological and programmatic circumstances, to ensure the best possible protection to populations can be provided.”

-@nqotshili

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