Uganda’s ministry of health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday announced that they were set to immunise 18 million children below the age of 15 against measles and polio.
The ministry and the global health body in a joint statement said the target population, which is about 43 per cent of the country’s population, would be immunised against measles, rubella and polio.
Out of the 18 million children, 8.5 million aged below nine months would receive the Oral Polio Vaccine.
The five-day countrywide vaccination exercise is scheduled to start on Wednesday.
“This immunisation exercise will be conducted in schools for the first three days and in the communities for the last two.
“This will be targeting all children under 15 years of age whether previously immunised or not in order to interrupt circulation of these diseases,” said the statement.
“The campaign will be the launching pad to introduce the Measles-Rubella vaccines into the routine immunisation schedule of the country.
“This campaign also provides an opportunity to intensify sensitisation of communities to Measles, Rubella and Polio, surveillance, as well as identify and investigate any unreported suspected cases of these diseases,” it added.
Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s minister of health, said the campaign did not replace the routine immunisation schedule in the country.
“Parents, caretakers and all concerned must ensure that all children receive and complete all the vaccines specified in our immunisation schedule after the campaign,” said Aceng.
“WHO approved the vaccines to be used and they are safe, free and effective,” said Yonas Woldermariam, WHO Country Representative in Uganda.
Measles is a highly infectious viral disease that spreads through coughs and sneezes and can cause serious illness.
The symptoms of the disease include high fever, cough, runny nose and red watery eyes.
According to the WHO, the symptoms of measles appear about seven days to 14 days after a person is infected. (dpa/NAN)