Harare seeks approval for typhoid vaccine

HARARE - Harare City Council wants to introduce a typhoid vaccine in a bid to prevent infections in Zimbabwe’s capital.

Health services director Prosper Chonzi said council had been dispensing the vaccine to some of its employees but now want to roll it out to the rest of the city.

This comes as health officials in Harare have detected 21 cases of typhoid fever in the past week, adding to fears that a water crisis will fuel the spread of infectious diseases.

“We already do vaccines for employees who work in the sewage plant. We are thinking maybe in the short term, we may introduce the vaccine before dealing with the long term issues of water and sewer.

“It is expensive to have an unwell community considering the resources used. But the idea will have to be looked at by the ministry of Health. We are not saying it is okay for people to drink contaminated water,” Chonzi said.

Chonzi said the vaccine will only work for typhoid while other communicable diseases like cholera will require a different dose of medication.

Typhoid fever affects people in regions where the quality of water and sanitation is low.

Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike told the Daily News that it was sad that Harare has become the epi-centre of typhoid mainly due to poor service provision.

“Typhoid vaccination should complement service provision as it does not come cheap and the country will have to rely on the support from development partners such as GAVI (Global Vaccine Alliance) for the vaccine as we do not have the financial resources to purchase the typhoid vaccines on our own. We cannot treat people and let them go back to the same environments that made them sick,” he said.

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