WORLD IMMUNIZATION WEEK – 24TH TO 30TH APRIL 2022
THEME: VACCINES HELP MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR EVERY ONE TO PURSUE A LIFE WELL-LIVED
THE ACHAP AFYA PROJECT—EXPANDING IMMUNISATION COVERAGE THROUGH ROBUST COMMUNITY
HEALTH SYSTEMS: THE EXPERIENCE OF THE UGANDA CATHOLIC MEDICAL BUREAU IN WEST NILE.
Dr. Ronald M. Kasyaba
Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau
The burden of vaccine preventable diseases in Uganda remains high, and according to MoH estimates, only 55% of children aged 12–23 months were found to be fully vaccinated with coverage being relatively higher in urban areas (61%) than rural areas (50%) yet childhood vaccination remains a cost-effective public health intervention and a key pillar for achieving Universal Health Coverage.
Vaccines have for more than two centuries, helped keep people healthy—from the very first vaccine
developed to protect against smallpox (in 1796) to the newest vaccines used to prevent severe cases of COVID-19, but access challenges and bottlenecks remain.
The Uganda National Expanded Programme for Immunization (UNEPI), which was established in 1983, is mandated to ensure that all children under the age of 1 year, 10-year-old girls, and all women of childbearing age receive full vaccination of high quality and effective vaccines—including recently introduced vaccines in the national routine—i.e. against hepatitis B virus infection, cancer of the cervix, Haemophilus influenzae Type B, and pneumococcal infections.
To enhance access, coverage, and vaccination completion in Uganda, several vaccination strategies such as community-based outreaches, home-based vaccination, child day plus, and mass immunization campaigns and other strategies have been employed over the years.
Despite these strategies, vaccination coverage in Uganda has remained relatively low over the past years.