Red Pepper has exclusively obtained information from the United Nations Emergency Program for Immunisation (UNEPI) that indicates that Uganda has introduced 3 more vaccines in the country.
The vaccines that include the, pneumococcal vaccine which is intended to treat pneumococci virus aimed at preventing Pneumonia and meningitis will further be made mandatory if the planned Immunisation bill by the Ministry of Health is passed by Parliament.
The other vaccine whose administration is meant to start in May-2015 according to UNEPI is papilomal, this will be administered to girls between the ages of 10-14 which will be aimed at controlling the spread of cervical cancer among these women at an older age.
Robert Mayanja, the Programmes Manager UNEPI, explained that this age group has been chosen based on the fact that the Human Papiloma virus that is responsible for the cervical cancer spread is more resistant to sexually exposed girls.
“We have decided to focus on that particular age because the vaccine works best when administered to women who have not yet had any sexual encounters. Human Papiloma virus is more resistant when it comes to those who are already exposed to sex.”
The third vaccine, Inactivated Polio Vaccine, will be introduced in May next year to help phase out the oral polio vaccine and eradicate polio by 2018.
In another related development, the Immunisation Bill is in the offing at the Health Ministry which will make it mandatory for all the target group of individuals to undertake any immunization to do so.
The law comes at a time when the Ministry revealed that it failed to meet the immunization target it had set in 2013. It is believed that the Ministry had earmarked 90%immunisation coverage target in 2013, but this fell short a challenge that required policy mechanisms to avert the vice among Ugandans that distance themselves from immunizing their children.
Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng,the director General of Health Services at the Ministry noted that so far, the financial implication posed on the country as a result of failure to immunize children has been acquired from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has been obtained whose background will be used to make it mandatory for all Ugandans to take part in immunization when the need warrants it.
Aceng explained that, “The Ministry of Health has already acquired a certificate of financial implications from the ministry of Finance allowing private members to table a bill at the floor of Parliament so that parents take full responsibility of child immunization.”
By Prisca Wanyenya for Red Pepper