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Ministry of Health launches house to house polio immunization campaign

By Nicole Namubiru

The Ministry of Health has launched a ‘house to house’ polio immunization campaign for all children under the age of five.

The campaign will be run with the support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other stake holders. This will be from Jan.17 and then end on Jan.19.

The campaign is targeting over 7.5 million children in all the districts in the country. The immunizers are however expected to go beyond homes by targeting other places such as markets, streets and places of worship.

This is because it was found out that there might be a low motivation for people to participate in this or there might be no one at the homes to take children to be immunized.

To successfully carry out the exercise, Shs 14.9 billion has been provided as funding from the World Health Organization and UNICEF is to do social mobilization.

Uganda is responding to the Director-General of the World Health Organization who in May, last year, noted that there was a re-emergence of the polio virus causing a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

In accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), it was deemed right to fight the further spread of the immunisable disease.

Sarah Opendi, the Minister of Health said the ministry will put emphasis put on the 41 border districts since there is so much activity of migration going on.

These districts, she said, were reported to have people access immunization services much less than the others do.

In 2013 and early 2014, polio was detected in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

This raised an alarm to have the disease fought before it spreads farther to countries like Uganda.

Opendi warned against anyone who tries to sabotage this move adding that: “We will not hesitate to arrest anyone who tries to stop any child from being immunized. We are aware of religious beliefs against immunisation. We shall not tolerate this and so have made the police aware so it can arrest any culprits [who may be] against this move.”

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