Measles outbreak in Zimbabwe claims lives of 700 children: Reports

The recent outbreak of measles in Zimbabwe has resulted out to be more disastrous this time as the death toll due to measles has already crossed the mark of 700. The following information has been shared by the country's health minister, stating that the number of deaths involve children only.

Zimbabwe: The recent outbreak of measles in Zimbabwe has resulted out to be more disastrous this time as the death toll due to measles has already crossed the mark of 700. The following information has been shared by the country’s health minister, stating that the number of deaths involve children only.

Some people are calling for the enactment of laws to make vaccination compulsory in a nation where anti-modern medicine religious sects hold influence on large swathes of 15 million people.

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The South African country’s health ministry has stated at the weekend that 698 children have already died because of measles since the outbreak started in April.

The ministry added that 37 of the deaths took place on a single day on September 1. The health ministry added that it had recorded 6,291 cases by September 1. The recent figures are over four times the number of deaths announced around two weeks ago when the ministry stated that 157 children, most of whom were unvaccinated due to their family’s religious beliefs, had succumbed to the disease.

Meanwhile, the president of the Medical & Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association, Dr Johannes Marisa said that, “The government should escalate an ongoing mass vaccination campaign and embark on awareness programmes targeted especially at anti-vaccine religious groups.

Marisa added that, “Due to the resistance, education may not be enough so the government should also consider using compulsory measures to ensure that no one is allowed to refuse vaccination for their children.”

He implored the government to “consider enacting law that makes vaccination against killer diseases such as measles compulsory.”

UNICEF on Monday has released a statement showing concern, adding that, “it “is deeply concerned” with the number of cases & deaths among children because of measles. The agency said it is assisting the government in combating the outbreak through immunization programs.”

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The measles outbreak was first recorded in the eastern Manicaland province in early April & has since spread to all parts of the country.