By Taddeo Bwambale
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has allocated $87,000 (about sh217m) for non-governmental organisations in Uganda to conduct immunisation campaigns.
The funds will be released to the Uganda Civil Society Immunisation Platform, a coalition of organisations running immunisation and child health activities.
Members of the coalition conduct surveillance on routine immunisation and report on a monthly basis to their network, Government and partners.
Samalie Odoy, the programme manager of the GAVI-Civil Society Programme said the funds would be released to the network organisation on a monthly basis.
Organisations under the coalition, at their General Assembly held at Hotel Africana Friday said immunisation coverage in their districts had significantly improved owing to the campaign.
Last year, GAVI gave $75,000 (about sh187m) to the coalition for activities to scale up immunisation coverage. The coalition has membership of 96 organisations across the country.
This was after GAVI renewed funding to Uganda and provided $20m for a two-year project for procuring vaccines and setting up storage and other facilities in several districts.
Alex Safari of the Community Uplift Organisation in Kisoro district said turn up for immunisation in five sub-counties had improved since last year.
He, however, said the health workers were faced with challenges related to harsh weather, making outreach campaigns treacherous in hilly areas.
Bright Kisembo of the Kibaale-Kagadi Community Organisation said myths and cultural beliefs about immunisation were still holding back progress, in spite of increase in coverage.
“Many people turn to witchcraft and traditional medicine to cure diseases. We encourage them to seek medical services at health centres and to take their children for immunisation,” he said.
He, however, pointed out that most health centres are understaffed and far from communities, slowing down efforts to scale up coverage.
A recent Ministry of Health report shows that Uganda doubled routine immunisation coverage from 52% in 2012 to 98% in 2013, largely due to the resumption of funding from GAVI.
Dr Patrobas Mufubenga, the national coordinator of Uganda Civil Society Immunisation Platform said an online platform had been set up where members can report on immunisation.
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