28 Dec 2010

Zimbabwe sect member murders wife after she tried to vaccinate their children against deadly measles outbreak

The Herald - Zimbabwe September 24, 2010

Man Kills Wife Over Immunisation

Published by the government of Zimbabwe

Harare — A member of the Johane Masowe weChishanu Apostolic Sect in Gutu allegedly brutally murdered his wife for insisting that their two children be immunised against measles.

Jeremiah Makumbe (39) of Bhuka Farm in the Soti Source Resettlement Scheme allegedly murdered his wife, Beauty Mboneki (33), by kicking and hitting her with an iron bar after pressing ahead to have their children immunised at a local clinic. Makumbe has since appeared before Gutu resident magistrate Mr Amos Mbobo facing murder charges.

He was not asked to plead and Mr Mbobo remanded him in custody to next Wednesday for continuation of trial. Charges against Makumbe arose on September 16 this year at his homestead at Bhuka Farm when a dispute erupted between him and his wife after she told him that she was going to take their children for immunisation.

It is alleged that Makumbe was adamant that immunisation was out of the question as it was against their church doctrine. A heated argument ensued between the couple, both members of the apostolic sect.

Presenting the State case, prosecutor Mr Kumbirai Masasire said, in a fit of rage, Makumbe allegedly stood up and began kicking and punching his wife before striking her with an iron bar on the head inflicting serious head injuries.

Makumbe's wife died the following day after being admitted at Gutu Mission Hospital. A report was made to the police leading to Makumbe's arrest. Although Government embarked on a national immunisation programme against measles recently, members of apostolic sects resisted immunisation with some reportedly hiding their children in the mountains.

As a result, there are communities that remain at risk of contracting measles.

Cases in point being parts of Mbire and Chiweshe districts in Mashonaland Central where an outbreak of measles claimed 70 children, mainly from the apostolic sects, over the past fortnight.

Measles is considered an outbreak when a cluster of five or more suspected cases or at least three confirmed positive cases in a district or health facility within a month has been reported.

Measles is a highly contagious viral respiratory infection that causes high fever, skin rash, running nose, watery eyes and cough. The disease mainly affects children under the age of five years.

In unvaccinated children, measles can cause severe diarrhoea leading to dehydration, blindness to those with inadequate vitamin A, inflammation of the middle ear, brain damage and death due to pneumonia.

The last outbreak claimed more than 400 children mainly from the apostolic sects, prompting Government and its partners to launch a national immunisation campaign.

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