Infant health threatened as district faces vaccine deficit
Posted Monday, January 14 2013 at 08:27
Kabarole District is facing a shortage of vaccines due to the ongoing stock taking by the National Medical Stores (NMS), an official has said.
“We have a shortage that has been ongoing for a month and it has been affecting children under five years. I have been in touch with NMS and they promised to fix the problem in two weeks’ time,” the district health officer, Dr Richard Mugahi, told the State Minister for Primary Healthcare, Ms Sarah Opendi, during the lab assessment tour of Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital at the weekend.
The unavailable vaccines are Pentavalent and BCG.
Immunisation is one of the most important preventive health actions in children’s lives, as it provides protection against the most dangerous childhood diseases.
“If children are not vaccinated, they are at a risk of contracting diseases such as measles, whooping cough among others, which may be fatal in some cases,” Dr Mugahi said.
He advised parents to endeavour that their children are immunised, despite the current vaccine shortage.
Dr Charles Olaro, the hospital director, said the government was planning to establish a regional vaccine store to help solve the shortage problems.
“The store will help us reduce the lag time of supply from NMS. We are yet to identify the land where it will be located,” Mr Olaro said, adding that the government should also consider establishing regional drug stores.
On vaccine shortage, Mr Olaro said the children could still be immunised if the drugs are availed within the two weeks’ period.
“When those vaccines come they will be vaccinated. The only risk now is that when they are attacked by diseases such as TB, they are at a high risk of acquiring it easily if they don’t have protection,” Mr Olaro said.
Reports also indicate that Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital has a shortage of septrin, which is the most effective drug in preventing PCP in people living with HIV, especially for people with CD4 counts below 100.
The drug also reduces the risk of toxoplasmosis, an infection that can affect the brain.