Measles vaccine drive registers big turn out

A health worker administers a measles vaccine to a baby. File photo

KAMPALA- Despite challenges like delayed delivery of vaccines and resistance from parents, the just concluded measles mass immunisation of children of between six months and five years has registered an improvement in terms of overall turn out.
According to Dr Henry Luzze, the acting manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunisation (UNEPI), the huge consumption of supplies and vaccines is an indicator that there is an improvement in vaccination coverage.

“The general picture is good despite a challenge of internal delivery of some vaccines. Some places had a huge turn out which called for more supplies,” Dr Luzze said.

He added that they had to move supplies from places which had a low turn out to places that had huge numbers of children to be immunised.

Dr Luzze also pointed the finger at a radio presenter based in Jinja who has been speaking negatively against immunisation on a morning show. He said the ministry is going to investigate the matter.
“He has been saying that monkeys, pig’s fat and mercury are used to make vaccines. He was also threatening that the vaccine will kill the children so some communities are resisting,” Dr Luzze said.

He said the total number of children immunised by yesterday will be announced on Thursday after all their teams sent to the districts complete compiling their data.

Mr John Bosco Ntangaare, the chairman of National Immunisation Committee at Lions Clubs of Uganda, who are complimenting the Ministry of Health on the vaccination campaign, noted that delayed deliveries on the first day were registered in Entebbe-Katabi, Nakawa Division, and parts of Kyebando in Kampala.
Other places affected by delayed deliveries include: Kenjonjo, Kamwenge, Gomba and Oyam districts.
“We had to relocate some children to some posts where there were enough vaccines to have them immunised,” Mr Ntangaare said.

Immunised against other diseases
According to Ms Rehemah Namutembi, an enrolled midwife at Kisugu Health Centre III in Kampala, children were also immunised against measles and polio.

“Some mothers do not bring their children for routine immunisation so we have decided to give measles, polio vaccines and Vitamin A to help boost their immunity,” Ms Namutembi said.

The Expanded Programme on Immunisation focal person for Makindye Division in Kampala, Ms Diana Baryayebwa, noted that this campaign has improved because the health workers and villages health teams (VHT) were trained and highly motivated by the readily available daily allowances of Shs27,000 per day.

The three-day measles immunisation campaign which started on Saturday and ended yesterday was targeting about seven million children in the country at a cost of Shs34 billion.

Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. The disease has no specific treatment but can be prevented by immunization.

Measles is an airborne disease and highly infectious

Signs and symptoms
Fever, generalised skin rash lasting a minimum of 3 days, red eyes, red lips and sores in the mouth, cough and runny nose.


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