Government to roll out national polio vaccination

By Prisca Manyiwa-Masuku

Ministry of Health and Child Care will be conducting a national Wild Polio Vaccination program targeting children under the age of five from 23-26 May 2023.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the Covid-19 media training in Kadoma on Thursday, Principal Health Promotion Officer for Harare City Council Israel Makwara revealed that there shall be a wild polio vaccination program to protect children from contracting the disease.

“We shall be conducting a national Polio Vaccination program targeting children under the age of five. The aim of the program is to prevent children from contracting the disease.

“Our nurses will be visiting residential areas to vaccinate the children,” said Makwara.

Furthermore, Makwara revealed that Zimbabwe’s neighbouring countries have polio cases which means that Zimbabwe is also at risk of having cases of wild polio, hence the need to roll out the vaccination program nationwide.

“The reason why we are having this program is that some of our neighbouring countries such as Malawi and Mozambique have cases of polio so that puts us to risk as a country so we need to protect the children, ” he said.

The program is targeting all children below 5, including those that were previously vaccinated.

“The program is targeting all the children below the age of five whether they were vaccinated before or not because even if they were vaccinated their bodies might not have produced cero conversion to fight the disease so they are also vulnerable.

“Polio is a virus so it cannot be cured but it can only be prevented,” he said.

In addition, Makwara highlighted the dangers of polio.

“This disease causes paralysis to children such that they can never walk for the rest of their lives. So we encourage parents to visit their nearest health facilities if their children below the age of 15 start to complain about pain in their legs or show any signs and symptoms of polio,” he said.

Meanwhile, during the same media training program, journalists were also conscientised about the cholera outbreak in some of the areas of the country.

The media training program was facilitated by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare City Council supported by Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF).

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