Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe has been commended for strengthening its disease management programme by incorporating the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) into its routine vaccine schedule for children, becoming only the third country in the world to do so after Pakistan and Liberia.
Zimbabwe introduced the TCV after it embarked on an immunisation blitz targeting children aged nine months to below 15 years between May and June this year.
Going forward, TCV will be administered routinely to all children in Zimbabwe at nine months of age to protect them from typhoid fever.
In recent years, Zimbabwe has been affected by increasing episodes of typhoid outbreaks with Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru being the epicenters.
The programme was rolled out by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.
Gavi chief executive officer Serth Berkely said the introduction of TCV was a giant step towards eliminating typhoid in Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe introducing the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) into the routine immunization schedule is a fantastic step forward that will protect millions of children,” he tweeted.
Gavi managing director of country programmes Thabani Maphosa said; “Before the discovery of antibiotics, typhoid would kill as many as one in five people who contracted it. The rise of extreme drug resistant typhoid risks bringing us back to levels of mortality not seen since the 19th century, posing a risk to all of us. That’s why typhoid conjugate vaccine is so important and why the government of Zimbabwe deserves praise for introducing this lifesaver into its routine immunisation programme.”
WHO country representative for Zimbabwe, Dr Alex Gasasira said Zimbabwe had shown leadership by introducing the vaccine.
“WHO re-commits to continue working closely work with government, partners and all stakeholders to ensure the success of this campaign and contribute to a stronger, more resilient health system in Zimbabwe. More so we would like to applaud the government of Zimbabwe’s leadership and congratulate them for successfully launching the typhoid conjugate vaccine,” he said.