The Ministry of Health has undertaken fresh measures to increase and sustain high population immunity against Polio and increase sensitivity of suspected polio surveillance using an operation fund of 7.3 billion shillings.
Vaccination is one of the key strategies that Uganda’s ministry of health is implementing in its roadmap for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal Four, to reduce child mortality by two thirds.
Ms. Vivian Serwanjja, the ministry’s Public Relations Officer in a statement revealed that the Uganda government and strategic partners are keen on immunising at least 95% of the under 5 years with 1 dose of bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) in high risk districts.
“There is no better time, the campaign is in high gear,”Ms. Serwanjja stated. “Our goal is yo use the campaign opportunity to sensitize communities on suspected polio surveillance at the same time pick any undetected cases.
The exercise is targeting all children less than 5 years age, a total target population of 5,753,301 children in the 73 districts.
She also revealed that they are using the campaign opportunity to sensitize communities on the need to participate in all routine immunization activities.
Uganda’s two most densely populated areas; Wakiso and Kampala district to implement polio and measles campaign; all routine static health facilities will be open to provide measles vaccine to all children aged 6 months to 59 months and polio to all children below 5 years Already catered for in the polio campaign.
Schools far from the health facilities, can be covered during transit to the routine outreach or at the outreach post. This should be done in all the months that the school is open.
Ms. Serwanja said, “School leadership and the community should be brought on board at all levels in planning, monitoring and implementation of the HPV vaccination and the importance of completing the two doses for maximum protection. Health facility workers should liaise with schools to sensitize teachers and girls through school assemblies and classes.”
In preparation for the upcoming House to House Polio campaign, the Ministry of Health on Wednesday organized an orientation meeting for the Media so as to boost mobilization efforts towards the success of the vaccination campaign.
No taking chances
On January 17 2015, Sarah Opendi, then minister of state for primary health care (currently State Minister of Health for General Duties) rolled out the biggest nationwide door to door polio immunization exercise to avoid the potential spread from neighboring countries.
Uganda had been declared polio free in 2006, becoming one of the first African countries to achieve the status. Government has just concluded a massive door-to-door polio immunisation campaign. However, supplementary immunisation campaigns have been often carried out when neighbouring countries have a disease outbreak.
Uganda experienced outbreaks of the polio virus in February 2009 and October 2010 imported from South Sudan and Kenya respectively.
In 2013 and early 2014, polio cases were detected and reported in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Uganda’s Parliament passed the Immunization Bill, 2014 that makes immunization compulsory for all children, women of reproductive age and other target groups against immunisable diseases.