Simangaliso Mafa is a nursing leader and community and maternal child health leader in Zimbabwe. He currently serves the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health as a community health officer in the Zvimba Rural District Council. He a board member of the Premier Medical Aid Society and CrossBoarder Health Solutions and belongs to the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe. Simangaliso is the immediate past president of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association and has served on various local, regional, and international boards. He earned a Master of Science in maternal child health from the University of Zimbabwe and an Executive Master’s in Business Administration (EMBA) from Midlands State University. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Science from Zimbabwe Open University.
Applied Project Title: Resurgence of Vaccine Preventable Diseases Among Religious Objectors
In Zimbabwe, a 2022 measles outbreak claimed nearly 700 lives. Many of these deaths were due to vaccine skepticism and avoidance, especially among religious objectors. This project examined one group in particular – Johane Marange Apostolic Church members in Mutorashanga – who believe in spiritual healing and refuse to vaccinate their children, resulting in preventable diseases such as measles. Recommendations included engaging church leadership and followers, appointing a health ambassador, a community working group, political leaders, and other stakeholders to explore solutions. The expected benefit is to reduce measles morbidity and mortality, increase vaccine acceptance rates and change people’s health-seeking behavior.