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Vaccine skeptics face heavy penalties in new law

Bahatii presented the bill on behalf of government

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Amendments to the Public Health Act contained in the Public Health (Amendment Bill) is fraught with fines and jail sentences and introduces a new regime of health related offences in a bid to curb the spread of infectious diseases.

The bill presented to Parliament by Trade State Minister, David Bahati, who was standing in for Leader of Government Business has been committed to the Committee on Health for scrutiny.

To be repealed in the event that the amendments succeed, is the Immunisation Act and the Venereal Diseases Act.

Those who are found to be in concealment of infectious disease as declared by the Health Minister risk one year in jail or a fine of Shs3 million or both such imprisonment and fine, should the new amendments pass.

Under section 22 of the current Public Health Act, a person who offers for hire a dwelling previously inhabited by a person suffering from an infectious disease without decontaminating is fined Shs1000 but the new amendment seeks to hike the fine to Shs100,000.

Section 19 of the bill seeks to amend Section 27 of the current Act to compulsorily require the divulging of information, including name, dwelling place and mobile phone number, of a person who is suspected to be having an infectious disease for tracing purposes.

For concealing mortality or an abnormal disease in animals, the law seeks to have one in prison for six months together with a fine of Shs4 million or either the fine or imprisonment.

School administrators who admit students without evidence of vaccination against a disease as required by the Minister of Health commit an offence and will, as the amendment suggests, suffer a Shs4 million fine and six months in prison or either of the penalties.

A proposed amendment to section 47 of the Act seeks to penalise parents by way of six months in jail and Shs4 million or either, for failing to present their children for vaccination or revaccination.



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