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Government to introduce immunisation fund

By Apollo Mubiru

Added 6th June 2019 03:42 PM

The objective of the Fund is to purchase vaccines and related supplies cold chains and funding of immunization outreach activities.

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The objective of the Fund is to purchase vaccines and related supplies cold chains and funding of immunization outreach activities.

The Government is to put in place an Immunization Fund as a way of ensuring a sustainable fund to bridge the funding gap and to operationalize the Immunization Act of 2017.

“We should have an Immunization Fund in place. We need to move to the next step of making regulations and guidelines to operationalize the Immunization Act,” the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwiine said.

Addressing a breakfast meeting on sustainable financing on immunization at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala yesterday, Atwiine said having the Fund in place will be the only sure way to deal with the diseases burden.

Clause 14 of the Immunization Act of 2017 provides for an establishment of the Fund to be housed in the ministry of health.

The objective of the Fund is to purchase vaccines and related supplies cold chains and funding of immunization outreach activities.

According to the Act, sources of the money to the Fund; monies appropriated by parliament, donations and money received by the Fund through voluntary contributions.

Atwiine said once the Fund is put in place, other elements of the law such as compulsory immunization will be enforced.

A parent of a child in the age of bracket of one day to five years shall ensure that the child is immunized against the immunisable diseases.

“We cannot afford to lose the gains we have achieved in this area. It is mandatory for every Ugandan child to be immunized,” Atwiine said.

With support from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), the vaccination package has improved from protecting children against 6 killer to 11 killer diseases.

These are: Tuberculosis, Poliomyelitis, Whooping cough, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Measles, Neonatal Tetanus, Hepatitis B infection, H. Influenzae infxns, Cancer of cervix, Pneumococcal infxns and Rotavirus.

Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization (UNEPI) programe manager Dr Alfred Driwale was concerned about the cumulative number of unimmunized children and a recurring funding gap for immunization.

Whereas Uganda’s population has been growing over the years, funding for immunization program has not matched the population increase leading a to stock out and resurgence of measles outbreaks.

The ministry of health was allocated sh19b this financial year for immunization program.  A total of sh21b has been earmarked in the next financial year. The increment according to Driwale, will be used to supplement the gap.

“The vaccines we need is worth sh60b. Currently, government finances about 30% of our vaccines. If GAVI stopped funding us today, we would have a very big problem. This also raises a big question of sustainability,” Driwale noted.

He said once Uganda attains the much-desired middle-income status envisioned in Vision 2040, Uganda will be ineligible for GAVI funding.

A 2017 WHO and Unicef report indicated that Uganda’s routine immunization coverage as among the lowest in the east African region.

The World Health Organisation, WHO, considers data from immunisation coverage surveys, using recommended methods to rate countries’ performance. The global health body recommends that these surveys should be conducted periodically every three to five years.

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