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Africa - Southern Africa

Zim police recruited in measles vaccination drive
("Eyewitness News," January 11, 2010)

Mutambara, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe police have been co-opted to try to force a religious sect to have its children vaccinated against measles.

Members of an apostolic sect have been locking their sick children in huts or hiding them in the hills to evade vaccination.

The Health Ministry said at least 41 people have died of measles, many of them children, since the outbreak began last month.

Members of the Johannes Marange sect’s beliefs allow them only to pray and use holy water to treat measles.

Manicaland police have been roped in to accompany health officials in the door-to-door vaccination campaign.

Aid organisations stepped up efforts to fight the outbreak.

UNICEF said more than 14 000 children had been vaccinated against measles in the area in the last few weeks.


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