Uganda plans mass measles vaccination

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Uganda’s Health Ministry has said it is rolling out a mass immunisation campaign against measles for children under the age of five, as a measure to control an outbreak of the disease.

A baby is vaccinated in Pader, northern Uganda. Photo | Internet

The director of health services, Prof Anthony Mbonye, announced an outbreak of the disease in the capital Kampala and the neighbouring district of Wakiso, where 67 cases were reported in July.

“The Ministry of Health is undertaking a number of measures to control the spread of the disease, including investigating the extent of its spread in Kampala and Wakiso,” said Prof Mbonye.

Measles is an airborne disease that affects mostly children between the ages of six months and 10 years, although it can also affect adults.

Although Prof Mbonye said there was no cause for alarm, he urged the public to be vigilant and report any suspected cases to the nearest health facilities.

The public has also been urged to look out for common early symptoms associated with the disease, which include high fever, whooping cough, red swelling eyelids and muscle and body irritability.

According to the Ministry of Health, an estimated 20 per cent of people who get infected with measles often develop complications, which if not managed early enough can lead to death.

Despite previous mass vaccination campaigns, Uganda has had several outbreaks of the disease.

Prof Mbonye blamed it on parents who do not take their children for immunisation at the right time. Current national immunisation coverage stands at 85 per cent.

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