WHO, UNICEF assess third round of polio vaccination campaign in Zimbabwe

Representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GEPI) visited the Henderson Clinic in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central Province, to assess the third round of Zimbabwe’s nationwide polio vaccination campaign.

This campaign is part of a synchronized effort across multiple countries to protect children from the poliovirus, in response to reported outbreaks in Malawi and Mozambique.

The vaccination campaign aims to immunize all children under the age of five against polio, as part of Zimbabwe’s ongoing efforts to eradicate the virus and prevent paralysis and fatalities.

Taking place from May 23 to 27, the third round of the campaign targets an estimated 2,641,846 million children through door-to-door visits, vaccinations at health facilities and outreach points, and active case finding for any child experiencing sudden limb weakness.

Mrs. Chinyama, the Mashonaland Central Provincial Nursing Officer, expressed gratitude for the visit and emphasized the motivating effect of the high-level support from UNICEF and WHO representatives.

She acknowledged the importance of their continued support in motivating healthcare workers involved in the campaign.

During their visit, the UNICEF and WHO representatives met with officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), district leaders, healthcare workers, and caregivers.

They observed the vaccination process, provided guidance and support to ensure high-quality implementation, and stressed the significance of bringing children to clinics for vaccination.

Professor Jean-Marie Dangou, WHO Zimbabwe’s representative, commended the MoHCC for their exceptional efforts in the polio campaign.

He emphasized the importance of reaching all children, particularly those in hard-to-reach areas, to ensure comprehensive vaccination coverage.

Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale, the UNICEF Zimbabwe Representative, reaffirmed UNICEF’s commitment to supporting the government’s polio eradication efforts. He emphasized the need for community involvement and collaboration among parents, community health workers, and leaders to ensure all children receive the polio vaccine.

Dr. Abdelrahim Khalid, the GEPI Coordinator for Zimbabwe, praised the collective efforts of stakeholders involved in the campaign and urged ongoing collaboration for its success.

Both WHO and UNICEF have provided crucial technical support to the MoHCC, including guidance, training, and supervision for vaccinators and monitors.

The WHO deployed technical officers to each of the ten provinces, ensuring oversight of pre-implementation activities and monitoring progress through standardized tools and data submission.

These collaborative efforts play a vital role in ensuring the success of the vaccination campaign and safeguarding children from the severe consequences of polio.

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