Uganda's vaccination program registers huge success

Aug 22, 2019

The mass routine vaccination will take place between September 25 and 29 throughout the country. It targets children between one year and 15 years.

Uganda's vaccination program has been a success, Dr. Alfred Driwale, the programs manager Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunisation (UNEPI) has said.
He said that due to routine vaccination of children, child mortality rate due to vaccine-preventable diseases has been halved.
While addressing journalists in Kampala about the upcoming mass vaccination against Measles, Rubella, and polio, Driwale noted that in 1990, the country was losing about 100 children under one year, out of 1,000 births, but due to routine vaccinations, these numbers dropped to 43 deaths before the age of one.
"Besides other interventions, our immunisation program is one of the major contributors to reduced child mortality rates," he said.
Driwale noted that the vaccines have been able to contain some of the top deadly childhood diseases such as tetanus, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, Tuberculosis, severe diarrhea, and meningitis.
He noted that with the introduction of cervical cancer vaccine and hepatitis B vaccines, children will further be protected and subsequently deaths due to the two diseases will be averted.
The mass routine vaccination will take place between September 25 and 29 throughout the country. It targets children between one year and 15 years. The mass vaccination comes against the backdrop that Uganda has over the past three years accumulated about 300,000 unvaccinated children.
Driwale said that because of the success of the earlier vaccines, parents have relaxed and given up on having their children vaccinated. This laxity has seen a resurgence of measles especially in Buganda, Busoga, and Lango regions.
The vaccination also seeks to introduce the combined measles-rubella vaccine into the immunisation routine. Rubella caused by the Rubeola virus is a highly contagious disease with mild symptoms but with grave effect to the fetuses.
Because of its symptomatic similarity with measles, it has always been mistaken to be measles. However, Driwale noted that unlike measles, the disease, when it gains access to a not more than two-month-old fetus, it tampers with brain development and the development of the circulatory system leading to the birth of a child with congenital rubella syndrome.
Such children suffer from blindness and deafness, have heart defects and small heads due to underdeveloped brains.
The immunisation campaign also seeks to immunize children against polio following outbreaks in the neighboring countries of Kenya, Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
It targets a population of 18.1m children for the measles/rubella vaccine and 8.2m children for the polio vaccine. The polio vaccine will be given to children under five years only.
GAVI is funding the campaign to the tune of $19m and 20m doses of measles/rubella vaccine and 10m doses of polio vaccine have been purchased. Unlike before, where we only had the measles vaccine, the new vaccine has a component of rubella and it will be given as one vial to counter the two diseases.
The five-day campaign is targeting over 16,000 schools and hold over 20,000 vaccination centers. Three days will be spent immunizing children in the schools and the last two days in the communities

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