Uganda

Polio: 95% of targeted children immunised

This represents 8,265,000 children that the health ministry had planned to immunize during the three-day mass polio vaccination campaign.

Ninety-five per cent (95%) of the 8.7 million children under five years have been immunized against type 2 polio.

This represents 8,265,000 children that the health ministry had planned to immunize during the three-day mass polio vaccination campaign.

Dr Alfred Driwale, the programme manager of Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunisation (UNEPI), said they have received their desired outcome.

The global target of vaccination against polio is 95%.

Giving a general outlook of the exercise, Driwale said only 18 districts have not reached the desired target of 70%.

The districts are; Masaka, Koboko, Mityana, Kakumiro, Mbale, Kampala, Bududa, Terego, Sheema, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Bugiri, Gomba, Oyam, Kabarole, Mubende, Busia and Arua.

“These are districts that could not start the exercise in the villages at a go. However, they have been given time to complete the exercise in the next few days,” said Driwale.

The health ministry in August last year declared an outbreak of polio following confirmation of laboratory tests from samples in Kampala.

Whereas Uganda and entire Africa were certified by the World Health Organisation as wild poliovirus free in August 2020, samples collected, particularly from sewerage plants in Bugolobi and Lubigi in August last year, confirmed a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2.

The virus detected had a genetic linkage with a Cvdpv2 strain reported in Sudan and affects children in communities with low immunity levels.

This prompted the ministry to carry out a nationwide polio campaign to immunize all children below the age of five.

Polio is a viral disease that is transmitted from person to person, mainly through a faecal-oral route or less frequently, through contaminated water or food and multiples inside the intestines.