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Government to vaccinate children against diarrhoea

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th November 2014 03:45 PM

Effective next year, all children below five years will be immunized against diarrhoea, the government has announced.

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Effective next year, all children below five years will be immunized against diarrhoea, the government has announced.

By Carol Natukunda and Nelson Kukunda

Effective next year, all children below five years will be immunized against diarrhoea, the government has announced.


The Rota vaccine will be administered alongside other vaccines against the top killer diseases among children.


These are pneumonia, tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, influenza B and measles.


Speaking to journalists on Friday, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the health state minister in charge of general duties said Rota Virus is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea among infants and young children worldwide.


The virus causes severe diarrhoea, often with vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. In babies and young children, it can lead to dehydration (loss of body fluids).


He noted that although Uganda was making strides in fighting child mortality, it was not likely to achieve the millennium development goal of improving child survival.


Statistics from the health ministry shows that an estimated 200,000 children under the age of five die from preventable and treatable diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria among others.


Tumwesigye said some diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea could be eliminated through the administration of timely vaccines.


“We need to ask ourselves what is causing our children to die.  We have rolled out the pneumonia vaccine along with other killer diseases, but more children are succumbing to diarrhea. The vaccine comes in to prevent such unnecessary deaths, but let us also promote good hygiene and sanitation,” Tumwesigye stated.


Commenting on Malaria deaths, the minister urged the public to consistently put to use mosquito nets, which he stressed had been distributed free of charge to every family countrywide.


“These diseases can be prevented and treated with simple yet very effective interventions,” he said.


Tumwesigye made the remarks shortly after opening a dialogue on child mortality that was organized  by the  Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment(ACODE) and the United  Nations International Children's Emergency Fund(UNICEF)


Earlier, the minister stated that controversy was  still surrounding the spraying of DDT to prevent Malaria.


“For so many years, the world was using DDT, but with time, it was considered dangerous for the environment.  However, we know there are countries which used it successfully. We wanted to revive the DDT debate, but recent (international) research suggests that some mosquitoes are DDT resistance. Perhaps the academics will challenge this saying how can mosquitoes be resistant before they are even exposed to DDT? We are yet to do our own study. But it is a continuous debate,” Tumwesigye said.


He also reiterated that plans to build a world class hospital were underway. The $200m facility, to be built at the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) complex in Lubowa, Wakiso district, will also provide cancer treatment,  transplants, and life support systems among other complex medical services that are currently being sought abroad.


“There are so many Ugandans who cannot afford treatment. And with Mulago national referral being upgraded, we hope that Ugandans will not have to go abroad for treatment,” he said.


Other speakers at the function were Dr. Flavia Mpanga, from UNICEF Uganda,  Dr. Hector Tibeihaho, of Child Fund International and several legislators. The dialogue aimed at finding out why children sometimes fail to get the care they need as compel parliamentarians to lobby for more resources for the health sector.
 

Government to vaccinate children against diarrhoea

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