Uganda to launch mass anti-polio campaign

UGANDA IS STILL AT RISK OF POLIO: Dr. Asuman Lukwago

UGANDA IS STILL AT RISK OF POLIO: Dr. Asuman Lukwago

The Ugandan government is to embark on a door to door Polio immunization campaign aimed at vaccinating all children under five years of age in 57 districts regarded as high risk.

The $3m campaign which is being supported by the Ugandan government, World Health Organization and UNICEF is targeting over 4.7 million children.

Uganda was declared Polio free in 2006 by the World Health Organization following a decade with out new cases but with the deadly still present in Uganda’s neighbours coupled with easy movement of people across regional borders, experts warn that the East African country remain at high risk of importing the Wild Polio virus.

According to a statement released by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr Asuman Lukwago, the country is implementing its roadmap to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals aimed at improving the health and welfare of children with the current child immunization coverage standing at 97%.

“The Global Polio Eradication Initiative together with national health authorities, global health initiatives, scientific experts, donors and other stakeholders, in response to a directive of the World Health Assembly developed a Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013–2018. This is a comprehensive, long-term strategy that addresses what is needed to deliver a polio-free world by 2018,” Dr. Lukwago said in the statement.

Mr. Lukwago notes that most of the districts selected have high cross border movements of populations due to insecurity in neighboring countries that could re-establish circulation of wild polio virus in Uganda. “The districts have also had low routine immunization coverage and a high proportion of zero dose children below five years of age as identified through the Acute Flaccid Paralysis surveillance system,” he stressed.

During the three day exercise which kicks off on 23rd, January 2016, all children under 5 years of age whether previously immunized or not, will be given Oral Polio Vaccine drops in the mouth.
Dr Lukwago said that the door to door mass polio immunisation will supplement the routine immunization services provided at the health facilities and outreach posts.