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Ministry of Health to roll out mass measles, polio vaccination in schools

Minister of Health, Dr. Ruth Aceng. PHOTO via @MinofHealthUG

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health is to roll out a mass immunization campaign for polio and measles in schools. The campaign will cover all children between nine months and 15 years of age.

The five-day campaign is scheduled to take place from 18th to 22 September 2019.

During the campaign, children will receive vaccines for measles, rubella and polio.

Dr Alfred Driwale, the program manager Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization-UNEPI says that the mass campaign is targeting more than eight million children both in Primary and Secondary schools.

The campaign is estimated to cost 44 billion shillings and will be funded by the World Health Organization-WHO.

In the community, the local council members and village health teams are going to carry out household registration of children.

Dr Driwale says the registration will help government keep track of people who might not be vaccinated.

Ismael Mulindwa, the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education at the ministry of health says that they are determined to make sure that all children get the required boosts.

“We have been having a problem of where parents first want us to get consent from them before children are vaccinated at schools. But this will not be the case because we have a law that mandates all children to be immunized. This is a national campaign and as such all children will be immunized.”

The vaccination campaign comes at a time when measles outbreaks have been reported in several parts of the country. Since 2017, cases of measles have been registered along Bunyoro-Toro area and Busoga-Buganda regions. Dr Driwale says new cases of measles are now being reported in areas considered to be measles free like Karamoja.

As of the end of 2018, the ministry has recorded 600 cases of measles in the country. Dr Driwale attributes the current measles outbreaks to the failure of children to complete doses of vaccines.

WHO routine immunization standards call for four doses of polio and two doses of measles. The polio vaccine should be administered at 2, 4 and 6 through to 18 months old.

This is followed by another vaccine at 4 through 6 years old. In the case of measles, a total of two doses for measles should be taken one month apart.



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