UNICEF expresses concern over the increase in measles deaths as the southern African country confirms at least 700 fatalities from the disease since this April.
At least 700 children have died following a measles outbreak that has been ravaging the landlocked southern African country of Zimbabwe since this April.
As of September 4, 2022, "Zimbabwe had 6,291 confirmed cases, 4,459 recoveries, and 698 deaths,” the Health Ministry said on Twitter on Monday.
“Cumulatively, 47.8 % of the cases were reported from Manicaland Province in Eastern Zimbabwe while Mashonaland West province has the highest cumulative case fatality rate (16.5%)."
“Meanwhile, males constitute 52.7% of the total cases,” the ministry added.
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.
Measles Update: As at 04 September 2022, Zimbabwe had 6 291 confirmed cases, 4 459 recoveries and 698 deaths. pic.twitter.com/3MW6Lcwdrt— Ministry of HealthZW (@MoHCCZim) September 5, 2022
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,” added the UNICEF statement.
The Zimbabwean government is blaming the measles outbreak on immunisation gaps due to religious and traditional beliefs that have seen some children missing out on the nation's free vaccination programme.