Zimbabwe: WHO Warns of Dangerous Measles Comeback

17 September 2019

ZIMBABWE will next week hold a national measles-rubella vaccination campaign for children under the age of five, following a "dangerous" measles comeback, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed.

Vitamin A supplementation will also be administered to children during the campaign.

In a report, WHO said the vaccinations and Vitamin A supplementation will be administered to children aged between six and 59 months on September 23 to September 27.

"Ensure all children aged between six and 59 months (below five years) are taken to the nearest vaccination point during the vaccination period. Take the child health card of vaccination along with you," read the report.

WHO expressed concern over some of the irreversible effects of measles and rubella. According to WHO, measles is a preventable highly infectious viral illness that can lead to serious health complications such as lung and brain infections in children.

"Deafness, cataracts, heart defects mental retardation, and spleen damage are some of the irreversible birth defects caused by congenital rubella," read the report.

WHO warned of a dangerous measles come back last week set to affect many countries, including in Africa, as cases have been increasing since the beginning of the year.

"Every region in the world, except the Americas, is experiencing an increase in cases of measles, a vaccine-preventable disease that can kill or disable children," said WHO in a statement last week.

"Nearly 365 000 cases have been reported globally this year, the highest figure since 2006, which represent only a fraction of the 6,7 million suspected cases. Measles caused an estimated 109 000 deaths in 2017 as shown by recent figures."

WHO blamed weak health systems and misinformation about vaccines for the measles comeback. It urged social media outlets and communities to make sure information about preventing the highly contagious disease is accurate.

According to WHO the biggest outbreak of measles is raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Ukraine.

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