By Baluku Alex and Kaguta Joel
The Ugandan Ministry of Health has again launched another Oral Cholera Vaccination Campaign as the first one ended today across the country.
This year’s first oral cholera vaccination campaign was launched on 29th August and the newly launched one will end on 12th September across the country.
However, the information obtained from the District Health department indicates that Kasese district has ended the vaccination exercise today with about 80% of the targeted population vaccinated.
To continue safeguarding the population against the disease, the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng was in the district to preside over the two ceremonies including the official closure of the first campaign and launching the second one.
The Minister first held a meeting with the district officials at the district headquarters in Rukooki before she paid a curtsey visit to Rukooki Health Center III where a maternity ward was gutted by fire in June this year.
Later, the Minister together with the district officials led by the District Health Officer, Dr. Yusuf Baseke proceeded to the home of John Tingasiimire in Kabaka village, Karusandara Sub County where the Minister officially closed the first campaign and immediately launched the second oral cholera vaccination.
At these places, the Minister advised the population to embrace government’s programs including the ongoing vaccinations for both cholera and covid-19 pandemic respectively.
She noted that Kasese district being nearer to the Democratic Republic of Congo where cholera has frequently happened; it makes it susceptible to have an outbreak of the disease if government does not put in place mitigating measures of safeguarding the population.
Information obtained from the District Health department indicates that the district was last hit by cholera outbreak in 2017 and at least 250 cases including 3 deaths in Nyakiyumbu Sub County were then confirmed by the Ministry of Health.
The World Health Organization estimates that 2.9 million cases and 95,000 deaths occur each year around the world.
It’s upon this background that the Minister then advised the population to embrace the vaccination saying that the heavy rains that the country is experiencing could facilitate the spread of water-borne illnesses, including cholera.
In his report to the visiting Minister, the District Health Officer, Dr. Yusuf Baseke said that his department boosts of the progressive performance in vaccinating the targeted population.
He, however, disclosed that the campaign met some resistance in some areas asking to the Ministry to consider the vastness and the topography of district and then keep on delivering vaccines on time so that they are able to vaccinate the targeted population living deep in the rural areas.
He also noted that the district needs to be included on the sanitation grant like other districts arguing that Kasese was still doing badly in terms of sanitation and hygiene.
The Kasese Chief Administrative Officer, Amis Masereka Asuman reported to the Minister that the district’s staffing levels are still low compared to the unfilled employment gaps at the district level.
The District Chairperson, Eliphaz Muhindi Bukombi who was represented by his Vice, Jetress Ithungu reported that the district has 74 health centre IIs which should be elevated to health centre IIIs so that the communities in rural areas get equal services with those neighboring the health centre IIIs.