The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr. Asuman Lukwago, says vaccination is one of the key strategies that the ministry is implementing in its roadmap to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals aimed at improving the health and welfare of children.
Currently, the sector has made good progress in child immunization increasing from DPT3 coverage of 52% in 2012 to the current coverage of 97%.
Uganda was certified Polio free in October 2006 by the World Health Organization after ten years of not reporting any indigenous cases of Polio, however, with Polio cases being reported by the neighbouring countries and the porous nature of our borders which enables free movement of people amongst countries, Uganda remains at high risk of importing the Wild Polio virus.
He says the Ministry of Health, with support from the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other partners will be conducting a House to House Polio immunization campaign.
The objective of the campaign is to vaccinate at least all children under five years of age in the 57 high risk districts in Uganda, Lukwago explains.
The vaccination campaign will take place on Saturday 23rd, Sunday 24th and Monday 25th January 2016 in 57 high risk districts.
These are; Adjuman, Arua, Buliisa, Busia, Gulu, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kanungu, Kiboga, Kitgum, Kyankwanzi, Agago, Amuru, Bundibugyo, Butaleja, Hoima, Kampala, Kabale, Kasese, Kiryandongo, Koboko, Kyegegwa, Lamwo, Apac, Buikwe, Bugiri, Buvuma, Iganga, Jinja, Kamwenge, Kibaale, Kisoro, Kole, Luwero, Mayuge, Masindi, Lira, Kyenjojo, Maracha, Moyo, Mubende, Yumbe and Zombo.
During the exercise, all children under 5 years of age whether previously immunized or not, will be given Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) drops in the mouth.
The vaccination teams will comprise of one health worker and one local council (LC1) official or VHT member.
“We shall use this opportunity to sensitize parents and guardians on identifying and investigating any unreported cases of suspected cases of Polio.”
He said the teams will move from house to house vaccinating all children in the target age group.
The total estimated number of children to be reached during this year’s campaign is 4,757,791 children below 5 years of age in all 57 high risk districts.
The Total Cost of this campaign is 9.9 Billion shillings and has been supported with funds from the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Government of Uganda.
Lukwago said the reason behind the house to house campaign is due to the fact that there may be no one available at home to take the children to the Vaccination posts and in some instances; there may be lack of interest or motivation to have children vaccinated.
“Experience in many countries has shown that House to House campaigns are 20% more successful compared to fixed site strategies.”