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Measles outbreak kills 685 in Zimbabwe

A child receives a vaccination against measles during a campaign in Juba, South Sudan February 4, 2020. Photo: Reuters

685 lives have been lost following Zimbabwe’s measles outbreak, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday, more than four times the cases reported almost a fortnight ago despite an ongoing nationwide vaccination programme.

“Zimbabwe had 6,034 confirmed cases, including 4,266 and 685 deaths,” the ministry said in a posting on Twitter, adding 191 new cases and 37 deaths were reported in a single day on September 1.

The update published on Twitter by the Ministry of Health.

According to Reuters, the country’s Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa last month stated that the disease was predominantly affecting children between six months and 15 years, particularly those from religious sects that do not believe in vaccination.

Apostolic sects do not believe in vaccination and rely on prayers, the government claims. The apostolic church leaders are yet to react to government’s claims that their beliefs are responsible for the spread of measles.

Meanwhile, the government is reaching out to faith leaders to garner support and awareness, Mutsvangwa said.

Writing by Muzha Kucha