The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has asked Resident District Commissioners (RDC) to arrest every parent that will refuse to take his/her children for Measles vaccination.
In a workshop that took place at Imperial Royale Hotel this week, Aceng told RDCs that Uganda has failed to eliminate measles because many parents have refused to take their children for immunization based on cult and cultural beliefs.
“Many times, we have carried out vaccination campaigns but RDCs have not always been called on the table yet they are the foot soldiers who know clearly the people at grassroots levels but this time we are engaging you to help us. This time you will help us especially those coming from the dangerous districts where there is much resistance of vaccination,” the minister said.
Aceng also cautioned RDCs to tell their people that vaccination is mandatory and it’s right for everyone.
“We have seen religious leaders in some parts of Busoga saying that vaccination is an evil of 666, this is your task now to sanitize them. Vaccination is one way of preventing diseases instead of treating which is very costly as compared to vaccination,” said Aceng.
The Vaccination campaign will start on 25th to 29th September, the first three days will be in schools both primary and secondary. Children starting from 3 months to 15 years are the target in this campaign. After the three days, the campaign will be rolled out to communities to meet children who are not in schools.
According to Aceng, RDCs will head committees which will lay strategies to see that vaccination covers at least 95 per cent of targeted children in each district.
“This is a big task and I would like us to work together. I want to reemphasize that as we conduct this campaign if we work towards 100 per cent coverage, we need Good coordination on the ground with your leadership, Serious mobilization of communities, Transparency and accountability and Teamwork,” she added.
Aceng also said that the entire cost will cost Shs70.23bn and it will come from development partners WHO.
Last year, 60 districts had measles outbreaks and vaccination was carried out, this year on 23rd June it was confirmed that so far 24 districts are experiencing measles outbreak.
Andrew Kainaga, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative said measles outbreaks are not only in Uganda but also in European countries and the United States but the efforts to combat it differ since in Africa most parents are not informed about the importance of vaccination.
“I challenge each one of you to emphasize the need for each of our children to be immunized on time. All vaccines are safe and effective and protect children and mothers from disease, save time and resources,” said Kainaga.
He added that the coming vaccination campaign must cover 95 per cent in each district as per the WHO regulations.