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Routine immunization failing- Ministry of Health

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Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | 20% of babies supposed to be benefiting from routine immunization are not getting the vaccine.

This was revealed by Dr Alfred Driwale the Programme Manager Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization in the Ministry of Health in an interview with Uganda Radio Network.

Driwale notes that because many babies don’t complete all the vaccine doses for the 12 diseases currently immunized against and yet others are not getting any jabs at all, they are seeing diseases that were near elimination coming back.

Driwale said this is partly explains why the government is resorting to a much expensive strategy of conducting immunization campaigns to try and capture those that could have been missed.

Driwale who called for a change in attitudes for parents to start taking routine immunization seriously by ensuring that their children are immunized by the time they are one-year-old said that the World Health Organisation-WHO has now recommended that countries with low access to vaccine to endeavor to conduct mass vaccination every after three years for diseases like measles and polio.

For the past few years, Uganda had ticked the boxes for countries with good immunization coverage that mass immunization drives became less prioritized.

In fact, owing to Uganda’s good performance with vaccines before, it has been much easier for donors to clear the country for more vaccines as the principal is they never give a new vaccine to a country that hasn’t yet hit the target with previously supplied vaccinesDr Phionah Atuhebwe, the New Vaccines Medical Officer at the WHO African Regional Office said that the criteria for countries to access a new vaccine is that they should have achieved 70% coverage of the prevalent vaccines which protect against diphtheria, whopping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib).

Last year, the country added rotavirus vaccine for diarrhoea on the immunization schedule, also they allowed the country to roll out the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine for girls outside the age of normal vaccine yet many other countries that had tendered in requests to Gavi had been declined.

Now, if the Rubella vaccine is added onto the schedule of routine immunization this year, the total of immunisable diseases will be thirteen from initially six.

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