Gulu district to immunize 80,000 children against measles

Gulu district will this October join the rest of the country to embark on a mass immunization campaigns against, measles prevalence in children aged 6 months to five years.

The mass immunization campaign rolled out by the Ministry of Health this month will run for three days starting 3rd to 5th of October this year.

Acting District Health Officer (DHO) Gulu, Mr Robert Ongom told Acholi Times on Wednesday in an interview that Gulu district is projecting to immunize a total of 80,000 children who constitute 18 percent of the district population.

Mr Ongom noted that measles is an infectious viral air bone disease that needed close attention since sporadic cases are still being registered within the district although the country had registered successful steps towards fighting the virus.

“This is a government exercise and as district we are seeking to maximally utilize the opportunity for the benefit of the children’s health.  Gulu district has been registering cases of measles in the beginning of the year and this is a serious virus,” says Mr Ongom.

We urge the parents and guardians of children to cooperate during the coming immunization drive for the benefit of healthy children adding the exercise will be carried out irrespective of the child’s status, adds Mr Ongom.

He noted that the district has already received consignments of the vaccines from the government for the immunization adding that they have also started training health workers on the coming exercise.

“Our Target is that all the children within the specified age brackets don’t miss out on the immunization. We are going to set out 24 immunization posts per sub-county so that all the corners of the district are reached,” he said.

Ms Rukia Nakamatte, the Public Relations officer in the Ministry of health on Wednesday confirmed the mass immunization campaign adding that it is to supplement the routine vaccination administered to children in health facilities.

“This programme will run for three days, but the government will also roll out a mass vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer in Girls by the end of October this year. This mass exercise is to help in supplementing the routine vacines,” says Ms Nakamatte.

Ms Nakamtte however advised the public to take the opportunity of the mass exercise but warned that the public should not forget of the routine vaccination provided at the various health centers across the country.

What causes measles?

Measles is an airborne disease caused by the measles virus and spreads easily through coughs and sneezes of those infected. The disease may also be spread through contact with saliva or nasal secretions and people who are not immune to the infectious diseases normally have higher chances of contracting it.

Its symptoms include fever, dry cough runny nose, sore throat and inflamed eyes.

Prevention of Measles

In developing countries World Health Organization (WHO) recommends two doses of vaccine be given to children at six and nine months of age.  The vaccines are normally given irrespective of whether the child is HIV-infected or not.

In 2011, WHO reported Uganda among the countries registering large cases of Measles outbreak where 3,312 cases were recorded?

A 2013 report by WHO indicated a decrease in number of measles deaths globally by 71% between 2000 and 2011, from 542 000 to 158 000.