Why Your Child Must Not Miss Measles Immunisation
The Uganda Health Ministry has announced a massive drug administration exercise for Onchocerciasis and the measles immunization campaign, Chimpreports.com reveals.
The revelation was made on Wednesday by State Health Minister Richard Nduhuura during après conference in Kampala.
Below is the verbatim statement.
Today on behalf of the Ministry of Health and on behalf of my own self, I take this opportunity to welcome you all to this press briefing organized to update you on the upcoming Measles and Polio campaign and the mass drug administration for Onchocerciasis.
Both of these are Ministry of Health interventions aimed at controlling the spread of and alleviating the suffering of people affected by these diseases.
The Ministry of Health will on Saturday May 26th 2012 launch the mass drug administration for Onchocerciasis and the mass Measles immunization campaign.
The occasion to be presided over by His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni will take place at Angangura Primary School in Angangura sub-county, Pader district. The campaigns are being conducted as a measure to control the increasing cases of Measles and Onchocerciasis in the country.
Measles and Polio Campaign
The Ministry of Health through the Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization (UNEPI) delivers immunization services to all the districts in Uganda throughout the year.
The aim of the immunization programme is to ensure that every child is fully vaccinated with high quality and effective vaccines against the vaccine-preventable diseases.
Measles is an acute viral respiratory illness associated with high fever, rashes and vomiting and is considered one of the most deadly vaccine-preventable diseases, accounting for an estimated 777,000 childhood deaths per year worldwide, with more than half occurring in Africa.
Apart from death, children who are affected by measles may suffer from life-long disability including brain damage, blindness and deafness.
It affects mostly children and causes severe illness to those children who are not immunized.
Polio is caused by a virus which is spread through taking food or drinks that are contaminated by faeces of an infected person.
The polio virus spreads from one child to another and an infected child may not show signs of polio. However these children still pass on the disease to other susceptible children.
The children not immunized against polio virus usually acquire the disease which leads to lameness and death.
The common signs and symptoms for polio are weakness and paralysis of the limbs, respiratory failure and death.
Measles and Polio are major national priority for Elimination and Eradication and this can be achieved through immunization of all the eligible population in Uganda.
The Ministry of Health recommends immunization as one of the key strategies for the attainment of the millennium development goals 4 and 5; that is the reduction of child mortality by two thirds and the reduction of maternal mortality rate.
Uganda has recorded a reduction in measles cases since November 2011 though several cases of measles have of recent been reported from some districts.
The re-emergence of these diseases in Uganda is due to accumulation of non-immunized children because parents and caretakers have not been taking the children for immunization.
New cases have been reported in 46 districts of Namayingo, Jinja, Busia, Bugiri, Nebbi, Sheema, Wakiso, Iganga, Luuka, Lwengo, Masaka, Mayuge, Buikwe, Mityana, Koboko, Mitooma, Mbale, Bukomansimbi, Bukwo, Butaleja, Buvuma, Gulu, Kalungu, Kiryandongo, Kole, Mbarara, Namutumba, Rakai, Sironko, Buliisa, Buyende, Kalagala, Kamuli, Kanungu, Kiruhura, Luwero, Yumbe, Nakaseke, Ibanda, Kibaale, Kayunga, Bushenyi, Kyankwanzi, Budaka and Mukono.
This situation threatens the health gains that we had achieved over the years. However, the Ministry of Health is determined to conduct more campaigns in addition to the routine immunization of children against measles and other immunizable diseases.
The government of Uganda provides immunization services free of charge in all the health facilities (whether Government of Private) and also through the community outreaches.
Therefore, the Ministry of Health wishes to assure the public that the vaccines for immunization against the vaccine-preventable diseases are effective and safe and have been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
So in an attempt to prevent the re-occurrence of more cases of measles and polio among our populations, the Government of Uganda has organized a National Mass Measles and Polio Campaign in the entire country. The Measles and Polio National Immunization campaign will be conducted throughout the country on;
Saturday 26th May
Sunday 27th May and
Monday 28th 2012.
Let me appeal to all parents and caretakers to take their children to the nearest health facility or the designated community outreach post to receive immunization against Measles and Polio. The vaccines are safe.
All children below five years even if immunized before should be brought to receive the immunization against measles and polio during this campaign.
The Ministry of Health in addition appeals to all parents and caretakers to continue taking their children to the health facilities and community outreaches for routine immunization until the immunization schedule is completed.
All political leaders are urged to ensure that all children under 5 years are immunized during this measles and polio campaign.
The Ministry of Health appeals to all Health Partners, Religious leaders, cultural leaders, community leaders, civil society, private sector and the media to fully support and mobilize the communities to fully participate in this exercise.
All of us have a role to play to ensure that all the children in our communities are immunised.
Take all your children for immunization on Saturday 26th, Sunday 27th and Monday 28th May 2012.
Onchocerciasis (River blindness) is transmitted from one person to another through the bite of an infected female black fly which breeds majorly in fast flowing rivers and streams.
The disease is common in 35 districts where more than 3 million people are at risk of acquiring the infection and more than 1 million people are already infected.
These are; Arua, Adjumani, Amuru, Bududa, Buhweju, Kanungu, Kasese, Kibaale, Kisoro, Kitgum, Koboko, Kyenjojo, Lamwo, Manafwa, Maracha, Mbale, Masindi, Mitooma, Moyo, Nebbi Buliisa, Bushenyi, Hoima, Ibanda, Gulu, Kabale, Kabarole, Kamwenge, Nwoya, Oyam, Pader, Rubirizi, Sironko, Yumbe and Zombo.
It is estimated that in Kitgum, Lamwo and Pader districts where the river blindness strain is blinding, at least 5,400 people are blind or visually impaired.
It should be noted that Onchocerciasis has an association with Nodding Syndrome which has affected over 3000 children in the three districts. So efforts to control Onchocerciasis will have an impact on the fight against Nodding Syndrome.
Signs/symptoms of the disease;
The disease causes eye lesions, which can lead to impaired vision and blindness. It also causes ugly skin disease looking like leopard skin, which is characterized by severe itching and can be so severe that it disturbs sleep, concentration and work.
The psychosocial impact of river blindness includes emotional distress, stigmatization and social discrimination due to damaged skin lesions which sometimes lead to broken marriages.
The Ministry of Health through its Vector Control Division conducts mass drug administration for Onchocerciasis using Ivermectin (Mectizan). This drug kills the young stages of the worm (microfilaria) produced by the adult worm.
The Ministry of Health, together with Partners (The Carter Center, Sightsavers, Christofell Blinden Mission, GIZ, Lions International and African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control) started river blindness control in early 1990s using ivermectin treatment of the affected communities and this has proved to be successful.
So due to our interventions, the disease that affected 70 people per every 100 people in the communities in 1993 has been controlled with recent statistics showing that only 7 persons per every 100 persons are affected.
Government strategy for Onchocerciasis control in Uganda is targeting the elimination of the disease through either annual or bi-annual treatment with ivermectin plus vector elimination. Treatment once a year (Annual) is being conducted in 19 districts while treatment twice-a-year (bi-annual) in 16 districts.
Vector elimination started in 1995 to supplement ivermectin treatment and so far, the vector has been eliminated in 10 districts of Ibanda, Kibaale, Kamwenge, Bushenyi, Sironko, Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Manafwa, Mbale and Bududa
To eliminate the disease, we need coverage of more than 80% sustained for 6-10 years treating people twice a year.
Our goal is to achieve the elimination of Onchocerciasis disease in the area under intervention by 2015 and the rest of the country by 2020.
Given the close association of river blindness and nodding syndrome, it is very important to scale up treatment among affected communities thus the need for this launch.
I call upon the public to participate in this campaign in order to achieve the full elimination of Onchocerciasis in Uganda. I encourage all people, especially those along the Onchocerciasis belt to receive full doses twice a year during the Government campaigns.
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Updated on 2013-06-04 10:39
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