Govt immunises Lupane against blindness

BY RICHARD MUPONDE/SILAS NKALA

GOVERNMENT has launched an immunisation programme in Lupane district to fight trachoma, which has proved to be the leading cause of blindness in the area.

Trachoma is an infectious disease caused by bacteria which induces roughening of the inner surface of the eyelids.

This roughening can lead to pain in the eyes, breakdown of the outer surface or cornea of the eyes, and eventual blindness.

Matabeleland North provincial medical director Purgy Chimberengwa yesterday confirmed the immunisation programme.

“The disease is called Trachoma and it causes blindness. We have launched the immunisation programme in all districts of Lupane. I will give you more details when I return, I am on my way out of the country,” she said.

The disease is also prevalent in Gokwe, Mudzi, Mutoko and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe districts, where the programme has since been rolled out.

Health officials were also fighting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer.

According to statistics, an estimated

2 270 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Zimbabwe annually, with a 64% mortality rate.

It is estimated that by 2050, cervical cancer would have affected close to one million women, of which 900 000 would be in developing countries.

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has joined hands with the Health ministry to fight HPV under a programme that will run from May 27 to 31.

BCC senior public relations officer Nesisa Mpofu said the vaccine was safe and could be administered to both men and women.

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