SOME parents in Bulawayo are resisting a government programme to vaccinate pupils against diseases such as bilharzia and intestinal worms.
The Bulawayo City Council, in conjunction with the government, has embarked on a five-day programme to vaccinate primary school pupils, but some parents are against the move.
“We faced staff challenges and we were assisted by teachers, who had to do the registers and the programme did not end last week, as expected, but on Wednesday,” council spokesperson, Nesisa Mpofu, said.
She urged Bulawayo residents to allow their children to be treated of the disease, as more than 200 00 deaths have occurred due to bilharzia.
“Bilharzia and intestinal worms jointly affect a large number of people in Zimbabwe, mostly of school going age and this negatively impacts on their development,” Mpofu said.
“A survey conducted in 2010 into 2011 on bilharzias and intestinal worms revealed these two neglected tropical diseases problems of significant public health importance.”
The government, in 2012 introduced a national annual vaccination programme against the waterborne diseases. The programme targets children betweenfive and 15 years.
“Due to resource constraints – that is vehicles, fuel staffing, as well as time – the strategy was modified and we targeted pupils in Grade One and Seven except for areas where the survey showed high prevalence of intestinal worms, we included the other grades as well.”
Bilharzia and intestinal worms are among the eight neglected tropical diseases identified to be afflicting people in Zimbabwe.