15 Nov 2010

Zimbabwe sect that shuns vaccinations is hiding sick members from health authorities in midst of measles epidemic

The Scotsman - December 22, 2009

Measles kills children of anti-vaccination sect


CHILDREN are dying of measles in a remote part of eastern Zimbabwe, where a religious sect insists on using only holy water to treat the contagious disease.

Thirty people, many children, have already died, according to reports. Parents are locking sick children in huts or whisking them into the hills to avoid detection by health officials working in the Nzvimbe area, 70km from the border city of Mutare.

The families are members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church. The church's leaders do not allow vaccination or allow followers to seek medical treatment.

Officials fear the death toll from measles in Nzvimbe could be much higher because the Vapostori – as they're known locally – are "fast-tracking" burials, according to one report. Many are dying at home.

Announcing the outbreak, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said at the weekend at least 340 cases of measles had already been recorded in several districts.

"We are frustrated as this is mainly because of people who have denied their children vaccination," WHO head in Zimbabwe Custodia Mandlhate said.

Village chief Chokore Matide says he's sent out a "squad" to try to locate at least ten critically ill members of the sect who've disappeared. The "squad" has already wrested nine children from their families, and got them treated. One is only a year old.

In southern Africa measles normally kills about 10 per cent of cases but it is much worse when combined with malnutrition. Food has been readily available in supermarkets since the formation of a unity government between president Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai in February.

But high costs and poverty in rural areas mean many still go hungry: Unicef says more than one-third of Zimbabwean children display signs of stunted growth because of inadequate nutrition.

This article was found at:



Eye Witness News - South Africa December 18, 2009

Zimbabwe church sect hide measles patients

A church sect in Zimbabwe has apparently been hiding its sick members as measles spreads in the east of the country.

At least 30 people have died so far but there are fears the figure could be much higher.

Reports from remote Nyazura claim members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Sect are locking up members who have contracted measles.

Others have dragged sick family members up into the hills away from health workers.

The sect does not believe in vaccination against measles and it is also against mainstream medical treatment.

Up till now, the Vapostori, as they are known, have been treating measles with holy water and at least 30 people are reported to have died.

The figure could be much higher, with locals saying some members of the sect are fast-tracking burials.

Villagers from Nyazura are up in arms, saying they have not seen a measles outbreak like this since 1929.

This article was found at: http://www.eyewitnessnews.co.za/articleprog.aspx?id=28896


The Herald - Zimbabwe January 7, 2010

Zimbabwe: 15 More Measles Cases Reported

Harare — FIFTEEN more cases of measles were recorded up to the end of last month, a majority of which involve children who were never immunised before.

According to the World Health Organisation weekly update for the period 21 to 27 December, a total of 24 cases were recorded from which 15 were proven to be positive.

This brings to 103 the total number of positive measles cases recorded so far after the previous week recorded 88.

Measles has so far claimed 22 lives in Manicaland province among the apostolic sect members, who for long have been shunning medical services citing religious beliefs.

The number of people reported with signs and symptoms of the disease but not positively identified under a laboratory investigation has also increased from 350 to 373 during the same period. The WHO further states that 88 of the positive children were immunised.

Most of them were in the nine months to 14 years age group while seven of them were not immunised as they were below the immunisable age of nine months.

Of all positive cases recorded so far, only seven were immunised before. To date, 18 districts out of 62, have reported measles outbreaks and these are: Bindura, Bubi, Buhera, Bulawayo, Chegutu, Chirumhanzu, Chipinge, Chitungwiza, Gokwe South, Gutu, Harare, Insiza, Kwekwe, Makoni, Makonde, Marondera, Mutare, and Zvishavane.

"Case based surveillance for measles continues in all districts and provinces. Immunisation of children aged between nine months and 14 years is taking place and cases treatment is done in the health facilities in areas affected by measles outbreaks," reads part of the WHO report.

Pressure has also mounted on Government to divert from a dialogue strategy they are using to convince leaders of the apostolic sect but push the church leaders to publicly announce over the pulpit that all their members should seek medical attention.

Measles causes high fever, skin rash, running nose, watery eyes and a cough.

This article was found at:


No comments:

Post a Comment