Zimbabwe Running Out of BCG Vaccine

Friday, September 4, 2015

Zimbabwe is running short of BCG vaccine meant to protect newborn babies from contracting tuberculosis (TB) — one of the six infant killer diseases.

The shortage will deal a blow to the country’s immunisation programme, thereby increasing the mortality rate among children.
Zimbabwe’s infant mortality rate is estimated to be 55 per 1 000 live births. The under-five mortality rate is about 75 per 1 000 live births.

The leading cause of child mortality in Zimbabwe is HIV and Aids, while the major contributors to under-five mortality are pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles.

But most of these deaths can be prevented through interventions such as immunisation, which has suffered from severe under-funding.

Major hospitals are encouraging mothers to look for the medicine, otherwise known by its scientific name Bacillus Calmette-Guerin, from poly clinics — run by councils.

Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa confirmed this week that BCG was indeed in short supply.

“We are aware that individual vials (bottles) of the vaccine are not available. We do not have the separate vials for individual children but as a temporary measure we have 20 vials that can be used on 20 children at one go,” Parirenyatwa said.


Source: The Financial Gazette (link opens in a new window)

Health Care