Government Announces Pneumococcal Vaccine Roll Out

2409 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Uganda faced a shortage of the vaccine after its launch into the routine immunization programme by President Yoweri Museveni in April last year. The shortage was attributed partly to lack of storage facilities and trained personnel to administer the vaccine.

Government has successfully procured a vaccine against pneumonia in young children for the whole country.

Uganda faced a shortage of the vaccine after its launch into the routine immunization programme by President Yoweri Museveni in April last year. The shortage was attributed partly to lack of storage facilities and trained personnel to administer the vaccine.

State minister primary health care Sarah Opendi today announced that government has now met all the requirements to ensure the smooth, safe delivery and administration of the vaccine.

She explained that the rollout of the vaccine delayed because it is extremely heat sensitive and very expensive hence the need to ensure that all the measures are put in place.

Opendi adds that the process involved training health workers at national, district and health facility level saying that there was a need to ensure that the health workers’ knowledge was updated in line with acceptable World Health Organisation and Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation standards.

She added that there was need for repair of vaccine refrigerators and quantifying the amount of gas cylinders needed by each district per month and to assess the vaccine’s storage capacity at the district level to ensure that each district is able to receive and store the right quantity required for its targeted population.

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The vaccine has been rolled out in 94 districts in the country which was assessed and approved by WHO to receive the vaccine.

She adds that districts which include among others Kampala, Mbarara, Sheema, Kayunga and Mbale have not received the vaccine because they do not meet the required minimum standards for the acquisition of the vaccine.

She however adds that the ministry of health and its partners are finalising with the requirements and hope to be cleared by the end of January so that the remaining districts can be covered in February.

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The Pneumococcal vaccine is administered in three dozes at six weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks of age, administered on the right upper thigh of the kid. It is to protect children against pneumonia and meningitis and other diseases caused by the pneumococcal bacteria.

The roll out of the vaccine brings the total number of immunisable diseases to nine on top of polio, measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whopping cough, hepatitis and influenza B.

According to the minister, government of Uganda has spent four billion shillings on the vaccine while a balance of another four billion shillings was met by GAVI.