Health experts have expressed that schools may be superspreaders of measles, with the disease spreading rapidly countrywide since it was detected in Mutasa District on 10 April this year.
As of 6 September 2022, the Ministry of Health and Childcare had recorded 6 551 cumulative cases, including 4 633 recoveries and 704 deaths across the country.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president Enock Dongo told NewsDay that there is a high chance of measles spreading like a wildfire in schools. He said:
There is no guarantee for safety, especially in rural areas and other children where they are crowded.
What it means is that the chances of them spreading to each other are very high, especially considering how virulent it is.
So we have no guarantee that this is not going to spread. People should be vaccinated to avoid the chances of hospitalisation and death.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said:
We want to continue encouraging parents and guardians to have all children vaccinated against measles in order to avoid schools becoming the epicentre or hotspot for measles.
Westview Clinics boss, Dr Johannes Marisa, said the government should educate people on the importance of being vaccinated against the disease. He said:
We are worried that schools have opened while the situation is like this where measles is spreading like veld fire.
So at this juncture, we should fight vaccine hesitancy by removing all myths around measles.
Disinformation and misinformation surrounding issues of measles are contributing to the law uptake of the vaccines.
Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) noted that measles had been progressing quickly and the case fatality was relatively higher when compared to other recent outbreaks.