Wednesday, April 07, 2010

measles epidemic in Zim

from NPR (USA):

The epidemic, which began in September 2009, has been abetted by Christian religious sects that shun vaccination and a badly degraded health system that has fallen down on once-exemplary immunization efforts.

Measles has spread to all 10 Zimbabwean provinces, with 90 percent of districts affected. The official count is 2,000 cases and about 200 deaths, "but this is likely to represent a gross underestimate," says Dr. Peter Salama, chief of the UNICEF mission in Zimbabwe....

He said an exodus of doctors and nurses has crippled immunization programs. Last year Zimbabwe, a nation of about 12 million, had a raging cholera epidemic, with 100,000 cases and thousands of deaths. A decade of political strife and astronomical inflation rates have eroded all government programs.

Zimbabwe's immunization programs were once among the best in Africa, but now, he says, "estimated coverage for measles is well below 70 percent, so there's no herd immunity...

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