Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Gulu district officially launched the mass immunization against Measles, Rubella and Polio, ahead of the nationwide campaign that started today.
The campaign, to be conducted in schools for the first three days and in communities for the last two days, targets all children younger than 15 years, whether previously immunized or not, in order to interrupt the circulation of these diseases. Among them, 8.2 million children younger than 9 months, will also receive the oral polio vaccine.
William Onyai, the Gulu district health educator said Gulu district targets to immunize 137,220 children from 300 Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools, and homes, during the five days of the exercise. These will form part of the 18 million children targeted from across the country.
However, Gulu Resident District Commissioner Maj. Santos Okot Lapolo, who also doubles as the Chairman of the immunization campaign task force said they aim at exceeding the target set by the Ministry of Health since Gulu district is housing many people from the neighboring countries like South Sudan.
Lapolo also cautions that whoever will be spreading propaganda against the immunization exercise will be arrested and prosecuted for sabotaging government programmes.
The five-day mass immunization campaign, funded by the Government of Uganda; GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; the United Nations Children’s Fund; and the World Health Organization (WHO); intends to interrupt the transmission of measles, rubella and polio among Ugandan children.
Uganda has experienced measles outbreaks across numerous districts in the past three years. At the same time, polio remains a daunting threat, given evidence of vaccine-derived strains circulating in neighboring countries.
The campaign will be a launchpad to introduce the measles-rubella vaccine into the country’s routine immunization schedule.
During the campaign, teams of health workers will set up vaccination service delivery posts across the country, with the objective of attaining more than 95 per cent immunization coverage, which is needed to interrupt the transmission of measles, rubella and polio.