The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that Zimbabwe has begun an oral vaccination drive to curb a cholera outbreak which has claimed at least 49 lives over the past month.
The cholera outbreak prompted the health ministry to declare an emergency in the country’s capital, Harare.
With 9,000 suspected cases so far, the disease has spread to other towns as well as rural areas across the country.
Authorities have banned public gatherings in Harare while health ministry personnel are supervising the burial of victims
Marc Poncin, a WHO vaccination expert in Harare, told AFP “The oral cholera vaccination is targeting 1.4 million people in high-density areas from the age of one with one dose.”
“A second dose will be provided within six months in order to provide at least three years’ protection,” he said adding that the protection was temporary and that the best way to prevent cholera remained “improved water, sanitation and hygiene.”
Residents attended health centres in the capital Friday for their first dose.
Cholera outbreaks occur regularly in Zimbabwean cities where supplies of drinking water and sanitation facilities are erratic and infrastructure has collapsed due to years of neglect.