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Zimbabwe Authorities Set Up Emergency Clinics To Battle Deadly Measles Outbreaks


New measles cases have been on the rise following Easter observances by the Johannes Marange Apostolic Sect and other religious denominations which reject medical care including vaccination against measles

With measles continuing to spread across rural parts of Zimbabwe and claim lives, authorities have started to set up emergency clinics to treat children, as was done to combat the 2008-2009 cholera epidemic.

Health sources said new measles cases have been on the rise across the country following Easter observances by members of the Johannes Marange Apostolic Sect and other religious denominations which reject medical care including vaccination against measles.

Some 3,000 cases of measles have occurred in 48 of the country's 60 or so districts since March, killing more than 200 people, most of them children. Health officials have called on police to compel parents to have their children vaccinated. Police said one family in Mutoko has lost nine children. Most members of the Apostolic Faith churches in the country are polygamous.

A new outbreak is suspected in Chipinge, Manicaland province, where children are presenting with sores. Authorities are said to have had difficulty limiting the spread of the outbreak, and one local hospital is said to have been charging US$15 a child for treatment, frustrating desperate parents.

Dr Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that the government must take decisive action to stop the epidemic.

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