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Ministry to conduct free yellow fever vaccination

By Lillian Namusoke Magezi

Added 10th May 2016 05:44 PM

A team is moving across the country to accredit more facilities to offer the vaccine

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Director General of Health Services, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng. Photo by Nicholas Oneal

A team is moving across the country to accredit more facilities to offer the vaccine

The health ministry is to conduct free yellow fever vaccination in the districts of Masaka, Rukungiri and Kalangala. The move follows an outbreak of the disease in some parts of the country.

In a statement from the ministry, the Director General of Health Services, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, stated that with support from GAVI, the ministry has received yellow fever vaccines worth sh2.1b to kick start the exercise.

The vaccination exercise is set to run between May 19 and 22. A total of 643,765 people aged six months and above are expected to be vaccinated against the disease.

According to statement, the available vaccine is only for residents of the three affected districts because they are in a highly affected area. Therefore, people from other areas have been asked to avoid flocking these districts to be vaccinated.

More so, the national taskforce will carry out an assessment to identify high risk districts surrounding the affected three, and evaluate the magnitude of the danger posed by the current yellow fever outbreak. After the assessment, any other districts found to be at risk will also be considered.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines yellow fever as an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The “yellow” in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients.

Statistics from the ministry of health show that the number of suspected yellow fever cases currently stands at 49, however, only seven have been confirmed to have the disease.

There are three treatment centres and these are at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, Kebisoni Health Centre IV in Rukungiri district and Kalangala Health Centre IV.

WHO explains that there is no specific treatment for yellow fever. Treatment is symptomatic, aimed at reducing the symptoms for the comfort of the patient. Therefore, vaccination is the most important preventive measure against yellow fever. A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection against yellow fever disease and a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine is not needed. The vaccine provides effective immunity within 30 days for 99% of persons vaccinated. 

A team from the health ministry is moving across the country to accredit more health facilities to offer yellow fever vaccination, including those at the border posts.

The Ministry of Health advises that:

-     All travellers in and out of the country must be vaccinated against yellow fever. No traveller shall be allowed into or out of the country without proof of vaccination

-     Always sleep under a treated mosquito net

-     Report any suspected cases to the nearest health facility. According to WHO, signs and symptoms to look out for include fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, shivers, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting. Other are jaundice and abdominal pain with vomiting. Bleeding can also occur from the mouth, nose, eyes or stomach. Once this happens, blood appears in the vomit and faeces.

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