Govt warns against mass immunisation sabotage

By Francis Emorut

“Government will take action against cultural and religious leaders who will interfere with the mass immunisation exercise," warns health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng.

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KAMPALA - The Government has warned cultural and religious leaders against sabotaging the upcoming mass immunisation exercise against measles and rubella, both caused by a virus.

Health minister Dr Ruth Aceng, who voiced the warning, said culprits will be prosecuted.

“Government will take action against cultural and religious leaders who will interfere with the mass immunisation exercise, according to the law. We have no choice but to implement the law,” she told a meeting of Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) in Kampala on Thursday.

It was an engagement and sensitisation meeting on a planned campaign against meales and rubella, also known as German measles.

Both are highly contagious diseases, transmitted in similar ways.

Measles is spread through droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons while rubella is transmitted in airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough.

 undreds of s attended hursdays meeting redit rancis morut Hundreds of RDCs attended Thursday's meeting. (Credit: Francis Emorut)


President Yoweri Museveni assented into law the Immunization Act 2017, which makes it mandatory for every child to be immunised and a requirement for school enrolment.

Dr. Aceng cited districts such as Kamuli, Kaabong and Napak, where in 2014, some of the cultural and religious leaders decampaigned a mass immunisation exercise against polio due to cultural and religious beliefs.

She said there not be a repeat of that.

The upcoming mass immusation exercise is scheduled for September in all the 136 districts for children between 9 months and 15 years of age.

The WHO country advisor, Andrew Bakainaga, hailed President Museveni for being the main champion of immunisation and asked the RDCs to emulate him.

“Let me challenge each one of you to pick this lesson from His Excellency and emphasize at every opportunity the need for children to be immunised on time," he said.