Zimbabwe measles deaths surge to 700

HARARE – At least 704 children have died from a rampaging measles catastrophe that broke out April this year amid concerns over the surge.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, 6 551 infections have been recorded, with 4 633 recoveries across the country.

Six suspected deaths were recorded in Masvingo and a total of 107 suspected new cases were recorded from across the country.

Measles cases are nucleated in the Eastern part of the country with Manicaland registering a total of 347 deaths since the outburst of the disease.

The latest figures are more than four-times the number of deaths announced about two weeks ago.

The health ministry has previously associated the outbreak with religious sects whose traditions frown upon children being vaccinated using clinical forms of disease deterrence.

“The country is in the process of administering Measles vaccine and Vitamin A supplement to children as part of the strategies to contain the measles outbreak,” said the ministry.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has expressed concern over the increase in measles deaths.

“UNICEF is deeply concerned with the numbers of cases and deaths among children due to a measles outbreak in Zimbabwe,” a UNICEF statement said on Monday.

On April 10, Mutasa District in the Manicaland Province became the first district to report the measles outbreak.

UNICEF is currently supporting the Zimbabwean government’s response, and rapid response teams have been deployed in the affected districts.

“UNICEF assists the government to control the outbreak through the tracking of cases in the community and supplementary immunization activities.”

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