President Yoweri Museveni has warned districts failing to follow immunization schedules to up their game to save children’s lives.
In a speech read by the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda at the launch of the Rota Virus Vaccine in Buikwe, President Yoweri Museveni highlighted that it was time for all districts to prioritize immunization programs if the country is to curb infant mortality.
In a bid to curb infant mortality due to preventable diseases like Diarrhoea, the Government of Uganda has today launched a new rotavirus vaccine that will protect children under five against diarrhoea.
Worrying, however, is that the number of children immunized is affected by those who never complete the dose and never followed up.
President Museveni noted that this trend and strongly condemned it.
Rotavirus infection is the leading cause of diarrhoea in children under five characterized with severe, dehydrating diarrhoea in young children and, in untreated cases, lead to death.
According to the Ministry of Health, diarrhoea is among the top ten causes of morbidity in Uganda, with rota virus responsible for about 40% of all diarrheal cases.
Health Minister Dr Ruth Aceng said that an estimated 10,637 children under five years of age die in Uganda each year due to rotavirus diarrhoea.
Globally, according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 450,000 children under five years die each year from vaccine preventable rota virus infections.
World Health Organisation representative Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam said that the vaccine is given orally and requires two doses at 6 and 10 weeks of age, with an interval of at least 4 weeks between doses.
Speaking at the launch of the vaccine in Buikwe, the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, announced that rota virus vaccine is now available in Uganda.
UNICEF representative Dr Doreen Mulenga explained that, “This vaccine is one of the best ways to protect children from serious childhood diseases.”
GAVI deputy CEO Anuradha Gupta, “This vaccine will help save the lives of thousands of children in Uganda by combating severe Diarrhoea.”
With support from partners, Government of Uganda procured 3,718,000 doses of vaccines. The total cost of introducing the Rotavirus vaccine is 9,234,500 USD. Of this, vaccines will cost 7,728,000USD, and 1,506,500 will finance the process of introduction. GOU contributes as part of the co-financing agreement to the tune of 823,500 USD.
World Health Organization emphasizes the use of Rotavirus vaccines to be part of a comprehensive strategy to control diarrhea diseases with the scaling up of both prevention and treatment packages.