Government rolls out trachoma vaccination campaign

HARARE – Government has launched a mass vaccination drive against trachoma in some parts of the country, aimed at eliminating preventable blindness among communities.

The mass drug administration campaign is being headed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care with partners; SightSavers, World Vision, Basilizwi Trust and WelthungerHilfe.

“A ten-day mass treatment campaign will run in the districts of Shamva, Bindura, Rushinga, Binga, Marondera, Nyanga, Mutasa and Gweru beginning on the 11th July of 2022 to the 20th of July 2022.

“The mass treatment for trachoma prevents children and adults from going needlessly blind. All people aged zero (0) months and above in targeted districts will receive a single dose of medicine once or twice a year over three to seven years to treat, control and eventually eliminate the pain and burden of trachoma in our communities,” said Jasper Chimedza, secretary in the health ministry.

Communities in targeted areas have been sensitised and mobilised and are ready to receive the medicine at their nearest health facilities, schools and identified outreach points, Chimedza said.

According to the World Health Organisation, trachoma is a disease of the eye caused by a bacteria, chlamydia trachomatis.

The disease, if left untreated, can cause blindness.

It is a public health problem in 44 countries globally and is responsible for the blindness of about 1.9 million people.

The trachoma infection is transmitted by direct or indirect eye and nose discharges of infected people, particularly young children.

Zimbabwe’s trachoma treatment coverage is said to have increased from 23 percent in 2018 to 36 in 2019.

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