Uganda’s Childhood Immunization Programs Face Challenges, IRIN Reports

“Inadequate funding, a shortage of health staff, and poor adherence to vaccination schedules are some of the reasons for declining immunization levels in Uganda, which experts say threatens efforts to reduce preventable deaths among children,” IRIN reports. “The main challenge has been establishing an immunization program that can function smoothly year after year as part of solid primary health care systems,” Eva Kabwongera, a technical officer with UNICEF in Uganda, said, according to the news service. Nearly half of children under age five “are un-immunized or under-immunized — meaning they start immunization but do not complete the schedule — according to the 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey,” IRIN notes.

Budget challenges, as well as “culture, religion and long distances to health centers are added barriers to immunization,” the news service writes. IRIN discusses steps the government is taking to improve immunization coverage, such as implementing quarterly vaccination days and supporting a bill that would “impose penalties and fines on parents and guardians who fail to take their children for routine immunization against the major childhood diseases” (2/5).

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