By Taibot Marko
The ministry of health has launched the Yellow Fever vaccination campaign in Lira City on June 8, 2023. The launch which was attended by the Minister of Health, Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Health and other partners from UNICEF, GAVI among others.
The Minister for Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng who launched the vaccination at Lira city , said the local population should take advantage of the vaccines that have been brought near to them. She said Yellow Fever Preventive Mass Vaccination Campaign is under the theme “One Injection Lifelong Protection Eliminate Yellow Fever by 2026”
The minister said to achieve the targets Uganda is left with 3 years and encouraged the populace to take up the vaccination. The minister further alluded that Uganda has been experiencing sporadic yellow fever outbreaks since 1942, saying this year cases of yellow fever were confirmed in Buvuma, Buikwe, and Wakiso.
“Due to the yellow fever changing pattern, epidemiology, and the increased risks of outbreaks, An international spread comprehensive yellow fever elimination strategy was developed by partners who include GAVI, UNICEF, and WHO. The strategy was endorsed by all African member States and Uganda subscribes to this strategy the very reason Uganda is conducting this yellow fever campaign,” Minister Aceng said.
The minister further noted that in line with the global strategy, Uganda introduced the yellow fever vaccine into the routine immunization program at nine months in October 2022 adding that Uganda had planned to conduct this preventive mass vaccination campaign in 2021, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed until it’s launch on 8, June 2023.
The yellow fever preventive mass vaccination campaign will be conducted in three phases. Phase one, which was launched yesterday 8th June, 2023 will be conducted in six regions (Regional Referral Hospital jurisdiction) of Kamuli, Kabarole, Hoima, Arua, Lira, and Gulu covering 51 districts.
The Director General of health services Dr. Henry G Mwebesa said all the logistic arrangements for the vaccination is in place.
“We have trained the staff in the 51 districts which are going to start in this first round and also put in place a very good cold chain system for the vaccines in all the districts that are going to vaccinate,” Dr. Mwebesa said.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health cautioned that the vaccines should not be taken by children who are under 9months, pregnant women and persons with severe immune suppression.
“If you know that you have severe allergies, especially to eggs or proteins, please make sure that if you want to take this vaccine you must be under strict observation of the medical person because we don’t want to cause serious reaction” Atwine said.
According to Atwine, the vaccine can cause some side effects upon receiving advising people to always seek medical attention if such happens.
The Prime Minister of Lango cultural foundation Engineer James Ojara has pledged to mobilize his subjects to embrace the yellow vaccination exercise in the Lango sub-region.
“Come for this vaccination, we as Lango Cultural Foundation will give all this support and will call upon our people to welcome this vaccination process. We have such a wonderful structure and if it is used effectively, it will help in the mobilization,” he assured the Ministry of health officials.
Ojara requested that the exercise be extended to schools as well so that the children within the eligible age bracket for yellow fever vaccination can also be reached. He appealed to parents who take their children to also take the vaccines and be vaccinated.
“I’m also reliably told this is mandatory, and if you want to realize the issue of mandatory, you go to the airport for you to leave the country, You may be asked for this certificate of yellow fever, So I’m appealing to all our people to make sure we get this vaccination,” Ojara appealed.
The first outbreak in Uganda occurred in western Uganda, Pamba County, in 1942. Since 2010, Uganda has had an escalating number of yellow fever cases, with confirmed cases reported in Agago, Abim, Kitgum, Lamwo, and Pader among others.