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Cost of MOH Health Campaigns Up by UGX 18b

The Ministry of Health says that it now needs an additional 18 billion Shillings to implement previously planned for projects like the mass mosquito net distribution campaign and a yellow fever vaccination. The distribution of mosquito nets was previously budgeted at 447 billion while yellow fever vaccination was planned at 3.8 billion Shillings.
Budgets of various health campaigns undertaken by the government have gone up as a result of COVID-19 and some of its effects, such as the need for social distancing.

The Ministry of Health says that it now needs an additional 18 billion Shillings to implement previously planned for projects like the mass mosquito net distribution campaign and a yellow fever vaccination. The distribution of mosquito nets was previously budgeted at 447 billion while yellow fever vaccination was planned at 3.8 billion Shillings.

Dr Jimmy Opigo, the head of the Malaria Control Programme at the health ministry says that the extra monies are needed to provide personal protective equipment for persons involved in the implementation of the campaign.

"Previously, people would go to a designated place and pick their nets but due to COVID-19, this cannot work. So we shall need to pay teams to deliver the nets to home. We shall also have to provide them with masks, gloves and even hand disinfectants. This will increase our budget," Dr Opigo said.

In addition, Dr Opigo says that this year they will also have to pay Village Health Teams to assist in the mask distribution process. Each VHT will be paid an average of 6,000 Shillings to help with the distribution of masks. Over 17 million nets will be distributed this year.

Dr Alfred Driwale, the manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization says there budget is going to increase to cater for new needs. Dr Driwale says that they also have to provide protective wear for the people who will be distributing the masks.

"We are planning to resume previously suspended campaigns like HPV and even yellow fever. Normally we would go to schools and even put up posts but now we shall have to do it house to house. This means we will have to use more people than we normally would," Dr Driwale said.

The increase in prices should be expected according to experts. Prof Freddie Ssengooba, a public health policy expert says that the increase in already planned budgets is expected because COVID-19 is a global health issue affecting many sectors.

"In such cases, these increases are expected. An increase of per cent of the original price of any campaign should be expected because COVID-19 preventive measures need to be met. People can no longer gather so more people need to be brought in to assist with the distribution of the nets," Prof Ssengooba said.

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