Mashudu Mambo, Sunday News Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council says there is a need to strengthen the expanded programme on immunisation (EPI) to reduce the mortality rate among children under the age of five in spite of the challenges they have.
According to the city council’s end of year report, there is a need for the council to strengthen EPI activities and as at 27 October the council investigated acute flaccid paralysis and measles cases and reached their target.
“The EPI is the cornerstone in the reduction of mortality among children under five years of age. Children are immunised against vaccine preventable diseases at 18 council clinics and outreach clinics are provided by the hard to reach areas such as Trenance, Richmond, Emganwini, Woodville, Pumula peri-urban and Waterford among others.
Against the target of 95 percent the city EPI coverage as at 27 October was 83 percent in oral polio vaccine (OPV3) 3,83 percent in pentavalent vaccine 3,85 percent in measles rubella vaccine (MR)and 82 percent in primary course completed (PCC).
There is a need to strengthen EPI activities to meet the set targets. In EPI disease surveillance activities, the city investigated eight out of a target of nine acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and 15 suspected measles cases out of a target of 14 cases,” read the report.
The city council said it is striving to provide health services to the people despite various challenges being faced.
“Despite the various challenges such as critical staff shortages, workers burn out, the council of Bulawayo has continued to strive to provide health services in line with national expectations and objectives.
These services include HIV self-testing that is being piloted at 10 council clinics, antiretroviral therapy (ART) at all council clinics, tuberculosis (TB) screening and treatment and the provision of maternal and child health services among other services,” read the report.
In a report, the council said they were screening patients diagnosed with TB and continued to offer the services in all the clinics.
“Screening for TB continued to be offered in all clinics and those diagnosed with TB were promptly put on treatment to minimise the spread of the disease.
Activities implemented included screening for TB in primary schools, health workers, involvement of TB champions in community education and screening for TB in communities, collaboration with other stakeholders in screening for TB in high volume events, door to door searches and TB day commemoration,” read the report.