By Our Reporters
HEALTH: The Ministry of Health has launched a preventive mass vaccination campaign against yellow fever in Masindi and Arua.
While launching the exercise at the mayor’s garden in Arua city Thursday morning, the commissioner of institutions and human resource development in the ministry of health, Dr. Driwale Alfred, said yellow fever can be eliminated through vaccination.
He further said they have arranged for teams to reach various institutions such as schools, churches, markets, mosques, and villages so as to ease the exercise.
Dr. Driwale further said the campaign is in three phases and has started with the western belt.
The exercise in Masindi district was launched by the district resident district commissioner for Masindi, Mr. Ngabirano Emmy, at Masindi Public Primary School.
The five-day exercise, which will end on Tuesday next week, targets people between 9 months and 60 years of age.
The Acting District Health Officer in Masindi, Dr. Jino Abiriga, disclosed that they received 304,000 doses of yellow fever and they are targeting 304,000 people in the entire district.
He also highlighted the signs and symptoms of yellow fever, such as fever, chills, headache, backache, muscle aches, and others.
Ms. Basirika Hajjarah, the central supervisor for the Uganda National Expanded Program for Immunization (UNEPI) at the Ministry of Health, said they decided to vaccinate people in the selected areas since they recently confirmed yellow fever cases in neighboring areas.
Some of the regions that registered cases recently are Bunyoro, Acholi Kigezi, and others. Ms. Basirika disclosed that the second phase of the vaccination will be done in October in the regions where the exercise hasn’t been conducted.
Basirika discouraged pregnant mothers, those under the age of 9 months, and those above 60 years from getting vaccinated against yellow fever.
Ms. Alice Akello and Mr. Dhaala Sanon, the resident city commissioner of Arua City and the deputy resident district commissioner of Masindi, respectively, urged all the local council chairpersons to mobilize their people for mass vaccination for their own safety.
Many travelers who go abroad are always expected to produce yellow fever vaccination cards at the airport, and those who don’t end up paying between 150,000 and 250,000 to be vaccinated.
The deputy mayor of Arua City, Millicent Inzikuru, urges the community members to use this chance so that they can have the cards in case of future travels.
In 2022, Uganda was one of 14 countries in Africa reporting confirmed cases of yellow fever.
With the support of the Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics Strategy and its key partners, including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Gavi, and the Vaccine Alliance, a multi-country outbreak response was organized in neighboring countries that faced more serious yellow fever transmission.
Uganda is expected to immunize more than 10 million people within the country.
Yellow fever is an epidemic-prone, vaccine-preventable disease caused by an arbovirus transmitted to humans by the bites of infected mosquitoes.
Once contracted, the yellow fever virus incubates in the body for 3 to 6 days.
The majority of infections are asymptomatic, but when symptoms occur, the most common are fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
In most cases, symptoms disappear after 3 to 4 days.
Story reported by Innocent Atuganyira and Moses Alinda
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