Wednesday April 23 2014

Uganda hits immunisation target

The Director General of Health Services, Dr Jane Ruth Acheng (R),

The Director General of Health Services, Dr Jane Ruth Acheng (R), and Mr Andrew Baikanaga, the WHO country adviser on immunisation, at a media dialogue yesterday in Kampala. PHOTO BY RACHEAL AJWANG 


Kampala- Uganda’s immunisation coverage has hit 98 per cent, taking the second position in the region after Rwanda, the Director General of Health Services said yesterday.

Speaking at a media dialogue in Kampala, Dr Jane Aceng said that the sharp increase in coverage is attributed to renewed funding from Global Alliance for Vaccines Initiatives (GAVI) and government’s strategies that have streamlined vaccines distribution in all districts.

She said the Health Annual Performance Report, 2013 shows that immunisation coverage increased from 52 per cent where it had stagnated following the suspension of GAVI funds in 2006.

“After the withdrawal of funding, we had challenges in sustaining the activities, the health workers and the procurement of vaccines. Government made deliberate efforts to keep immunisation a priority but general coverage remained low,” she noted.

However, since GAVI’s renewed funding in 2012, immunisation activities received a boost that has seen not vaccination coverage go up but also cases of vaccine stock outs have been minimised, according Dr Aceng.

Mr Andrew Baikanaga, the WHO country adviser on Immunisation Vaccines Development, said Uganda has made a big step in the right direction but must sustain the success.
He said immunisation is one of the most cost effective public health intervention that can enhance our achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

He said the insurgencies in the neighbouring countries are a threat to Uganda’s immunisation progress as refugees from these countries tend to come with some immunisable diseases such as measles and polio.

UNEPI programme manager Robert Mayanja said some districts with low coverage should be targeted if the country is to eliminate the immunisable diseases.