Dr. Immaculate Amparie, the deputy manager UNEPI, says the ministry of health has put in place conditions that will allow immunisation to take place. “But the way Ugandan parents are, most are going to remain home because they don’t want to walk to health centers," she said.
A child being immunised. According to health officials, the lockdown has reduced the number of children who go for routine immunization
The current lockdown
has led to a decline in the number of parents taking their children for routine
immunisation, the Uganda
National Expanded Programme on Immunisation-UNEPI has revealed. According to
UNEPI, although they often record low numbers of children during the routine
immunisation, the situation has worsened because of COVID19.
Every month, the Health Ministry provides
141,600 vaccines for the routine immunisation exercise. However, less than
120,000 children often show up for immunisation. According to the Health Ministry,
one week into the lock down, less than 10,000 children have shown up.
Dr. Immaculate Amparie, the deputy manager UNEPI,
says the ministry of health has put in place conditions that will allow
immunisation to take place. “But the way Ugandan parents are, most are going to
remain home because they don’t want to walk to health centers," she said.
Uganda has 13 vaccines under its routine immunisation
schedule. Annually, the schedule targets over one million children. Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, says it
is important for immunisation activities to continue even with the current
"All parents are encouraged to take their
children to the nearest health facility for their vaccination. It's important
for routine immunisation to take place to make sure children are healthy even
in the midst of an outbreak," Dr. Aceng said.
The Health Ministry has set up standard
operating procedures to enable immunisation exercises to go on as planned
even during the lock down. Some of the measures include: only five mothers
accessing services at any given time. Even this, the numbers at immunisation centers
are still slow. Stella Namugenyi, a nurse at Mulago National Referral Hospital,
says that they have been seeing a handful of parents since last week.
"We are mostly receiving children of six
months and below. The older ones are not coming. The situation has been like
this since last month," Namugenyi said. According to World Health Organisation, failure by
governments to ensure children get immunised during the lock downs will affect the
health of children.
The UN health agency, says if routine immunisation doesn’t take
place, outbreaks for diseases like measles might spring up, which will add more
stress onto already tired health systems.