Polio and measles drives launched in Zimbabwe

A massive immunization campaign attempting to immunize approximately two million children under the age of five against polio and measles launched in Zimbabwe on Monday.

Henry Madzorera, the country's health and child welfare minister, began the program in Harare, administering both vaccines and vitamin A supplements. Approximately 100 children die from preventable diseases in Zimbabwe every day and the week-long vaccination program is an attempt to decrease the mortality rate, VOA News reports.

"Diseases do not select on the basis of religious affiliation, and it is the duty of every adult to ensure that no child dies of a preventable disease," Madzorera said, according to VOA News.

Madzorera urged parents throughout Zimbabwe to have their children vaccinated at designated points. The campaign is being carried out with the help of UNICEF and is receiving funding from Japan.

"In partnership with the international donor community, the rate of children immunized will continue to rise," Peter Salama, UNICEF's Harare representative, said, according to VOA News. "Through the support of Japan and the ministry of health, UNICEF has managed to provide all the measles and polio vaccines and injection, and safety materials."

The program is also receiving support from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, the American Red Cross and the Measles-Rubella Initiative.

While Zimbabwe's economic decline has majorly impacted the health sector, recent economic improvement since 2009 have improved the sector.