Low yellow fever vaccination uptake raises concerns in Bukomansimbi

Low yellow fever vaccination uptake raises concerns in Bukomansimbi
A student is given the jab

Despite concerted efforts by health authorities to promote the government's yellow fever vaccination programme, concerns loom large over low uptake, particularly among schools and parents in Bukomansimbi District.

Annet Nakamya, deputy district health officer and head of immunization programmes in Bukomansimbi, voiced her apprehensions regarding the situation.

"Despite efforts to educate the population about the benefits of vaccination, of 151,413 the population of Bukomansimbi district, only 65% have been vaccinated," Nakamya lamented.

One of the significant hurdles identified by health officials is the reluctance observed among headteachers and parents to consent to the vaccination of pupils and students without valid reasons.

“And not only schools, but also communities did not engage in this campaign especially in sub-counties such as Bukango and Kigangazzi whose residents totally failed to participate yet they have a big population,” she said.

The vaccination program, aimed at protecting individuals against yellow fever, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease, has encountered resistance in various quarters, posing a significant threat to public health in the district.

Yellow fever, characterised by fever, muscle pain, and jaundice, can escalate rapidly, leading to severe complications and even death if left untreated.

Nakamya emphasized the importance of community-wide participation in combating the spread of yellow fever, underscoring the role of vaccination as a crucial preventive measure.

She urged schools, parents, and community leaders to actively support the vaccination efforts and dispel any misconceptions surrounding immunisation.

"Although the campaign concluded, vaccination is still ongoing in all our government facilities across the district," Nakamya said.

Ms Nakamya is frustrated by the low uptake of yellow fever vaccination

In response to the challenges faced, health authorities are intensifying their awareness campaigns, utilizing various communication channels to disseminate accurate information about the yellow fever vaccine's safety and efficacy.

Collaborative efforts involving community stakeholders, including religious and traditional leaders, are being mobilised to address concerns and encourage uptake.

“We are calling upon all stakeholders to help in mobilising the community to participate in the government's programmes and telling them the importance of vaccination so that people can live that negative thinking in their minds about vaccination programmes," Nakamya said.

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with local health departments, continues to prioritise the vaccination program as part of its broader efforts to safeguard public health and prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Yellow fever vaccination remains a cornerstone of disease prevention strategies, particularly in regions prone to mosquito-borne illnesses.

As the campaign to increase yellow fever vaccination coverage gains momentum, health officials in Bukomansimbi remain hopeful that concerted community engagement and education efforts will yield positive results, ultimately ensuring the well-being of residents and safeguarding against the threat of yellow fever outbreaks.

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