Inadequate funding, a shortage of health staff and poor adherence to vaccination schedules are some of the reasons for declining immunization levels in Uganda, which experts say threatens efforts to reduce preventable deaths among children.
Uganda’s national measles immunization coverage declined from 71 percent in 2006 to 55 percent in 2010, according to the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) 2011 estimates.
“Routine immunization decline is due to health system issues that are affecting the entire health delivery, including limitations in the resource envelope, low staffing levels, inadequate capacities to manage the available resources, [and] vaccines- and related supplies-distribution challenges from national to district to operational levels,” Eva Kabwongera, the technical officer in charge of immunization with UNICEF in Uganda, told IRIN.
“The main challenge has been establishing an immunization program that can function smoothly year after year as part of solid primary healthcare systems.”
Major childhood diseases in Uganda include measles, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae and neonatal tetanus. But some 48 percent of children under the age of five are un-immunized or under-immunized – meaning they start immunization but do not complete the schedule – according to the 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey.
“The re-emergence of these diseases in Uganda is due to accumulation of non-immunized children because parents and caretakers have not been taking the children for immunization,” said a government statement.
Read more of the story here at the IRIN news service:
Uganda’s immunization programme needs a shot in the arm
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