The outbreak of measles across the country is a serious threat to health and livelihoods of the Zimbabwean citizens.
In just a few days the outbreak has spread, with number of cases increasing unexpectedly and fatalities also being recorded.
“The nation is being informed that following a report of the first case of measles in Mutasa District, Manicaland Province on 10th August 2022, the disease has now spread to other provinces. As of 15th August 2022, the cumulative figures from across the country has risen to 2 056 cases and 157 deaths,” said Minister Monica Mutsvangwa during the recent cabinet briefing.
From those figures, the Midlands Province had recorded 83 cases and 16 deaths from measles.
However, cases have also been recorded in Manicaland, 1 270 cases and 122 deaths; Harare Metropolitan 121 cases; Midlands, 83 cases and 16 deaths; Masvingo, 116 cases and 3 deaths; Mashonaland East ,115 cases and 16 deaths; Mashonaland Central, 87 cases; Mashonaland West, 130 cases; Matabeleland North, 85 cases; Matabeleland South, 23 cases; and Bulawayo Metropoliotan, 12 cases.
Efforts must be targeted towards risk communication, behavior change and engage traditional leaders to encourage vaccination as it was noted that all victims had not been vaccinated.
The government has attributed the outbreak to religious sect gatherings where beliefs might have influenced the decision not to get vaccinated.
With schools opening soon, it is plausible that the government is dedicating resources towards ramping up the vaccination campaign as these maybe breeding grounds for the spread of measles.
Lessons must be drawn from Covid-19 pandemic and be used to guard the nation against the outbreak of diseases now and in the future.