Zimbabwe: Parents Panic Over Child Vaccinations

16 January 2020

Parents are in panic mode as they are being turned away by some Harare City Council clinics when they take their children for vaccination against child killer diseases.

Hatfield Clinic has been mentioned many times by parents that have contacted The Herald, saying it is refusing to entertain parents wanting to have their children vaccinated.

It is said that Hatfield Clinic always says it doesn't have the required drugs.

Other clinics in Glen View and Budiriro are reportedly turning away parents seeking routine immunisation for their children, citing shortages of vaccines.

But the City Health Department insists all drugs are available to all clinics around town.

It has advised parents who fail to get their children vaccinated against the child killer diseases to approach them with exact details of clinics turning them away.

The parents should also have a list of the vaccines they would be seeking to enable the City Health Department to take appropriate action.

The City Health Department insists there are enough vaccines in all their facilities, and pleaded with those being turned away to provide adequate information for them to follow-up and take action.

In a survey yesterday, The Herald established that some clinics were indeed turning way parents seeking routine vaccinations for their children.

Said Ms Gamucirai Nyamwanza: "I was turned away from Hatfield Clinic last week and referred to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. When we went there on Monday, we did not get the service.

"They said we should check on Wednesday (yesterday). My child wanted the nine-month measles ruebella vaccination."

A number of other women confirmed being turned away from Hatfield Clinic, but now suspect that the nurses do so to enable them to spend the day sitting.

"I have a feeling that the nurses at Hatfield are deliberately turning away parents claiming they don't have vaccines, to enable them to stage a sit-in.

"It appears they still want to continue with their strike, affecting the lives of children and other older patients in the process," said Mrs Tendai Garwi of Hatfield.

But some parents yesterday said they were being served normally at some clinics around town.

Ms Mollisa Dube of Glen Norah, who was seeking vaccination for her nine-month old baby from Rutsanana Clinic, said she was assisted.

She said some mothers that came earlier than her also had their babies vaccinated.

"I came here in the morning with my baby seeking the six-weeks vaccination and the baby has been vaccinated.

"They have been vaccinating since morning because when I got here, there were other women who wanted to get their children vaccinated, and they were helped," said Ms Dube.

Another parent, Mrs Agnes Mahlangu of Western Triangle said she has been visiting the clinic for the past three days for treatment, and saw babies being vaccinated.

"I have been coming here for the past three days seeking treatment for something else, but I have noticed mothers immunising their babies from the baby clinic as usual," she said.

City Health director Dr Prosper Chonzi said the local authority had enough vaccines in all its facilities.

"There are rumours going around that our clinics are turning away parents who are seeking vaccines for their children.

"This is not true because if you go round our clinics you will find children being vaccinated," said Dr Chonzi.

"If there are people who are being turned away, they should report to council so that we investigate the reasons behind the particular institutions turning away parents."

Dr Chonzi added that all city council nurses had returned to work.

"The turnout of nurses as of yesterday was 100 percent and our chief pharmacist has also assured me that all vaccines are in stock," he said.

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