Zimbabwean Health Minister Henry Madzorera on Tuesday declared the country's national child immunization campaign a success, attributing this in significant measure to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's convening of a conference with religious objectors before the vaccination drive to convince them to cooperate with the effort.
Dr. Madzorera confirmed World Health Organization figures showing that 2.9 million children had been immunized as of this week of the 5 million targeted. Dr. Madzorera said there have been some pockets of resistance, but added that he is confident health workers will come close to the goal of five million children when the program ends Wednesday.
The immunization campaign was launched in response to outbreaks of measles in nearly all of the country's 62 districts. The disease spread in part because so-called apostolic faith sects resisted immunization as a matter of faith.
Nearly 400 children have died of measles in Zimbabwe since late 2009.
Despite reports of a low turnout by parents in some parts of Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North province, the member of parliament for Tsholotsho South constituency, Maxwell Dube, said those reports are not accurate.
Dube, a member of Parliament's committee on health, assured VOA Studio 7 reporter Brenda Moyo that some 50,000 children in Tsholotsho would be vaccinated in the campaign.