1,200,000 children in Uganda aged 10 and 11 years need vaccination against cancer of the cervix, 17,300,000 children below 15 years need deworming to prevent blood loss to worms, 7,500,000 children below five years need Vitamin A Supplementation against preventable blindness, nearly 500,000 children missed various doses of routine vaccination over time, while an estimated 12 million people aged 19 years and above in Kigezi, Ankole, Toro, Bunyoro and Buganda regions need Hepatitis B screening and vaccination for prevention of Liver Cirrhosis and Cancer of the liver.
The statistics were released by Dr. Moriku Joyce Kaducu (PhD) Minister of State for Primary Health Care while addressing the media in Kampala this morning, about the Integrated Child Health Days set for this month.
Accumulation in the above numbers was caused by two disruptions in October 2019 due to MR campaign and April 2020 due to COVID 19 lockdown.
Every year in April and October the Ministry of Health intensifies Maternal Child Health and survival activities during what is commonly referred to as Integrated Child Health Days (ICHDs). However, the exercise was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in April this year.
The Integrated Child Health days consolidate the resolve of Government to minimize preventable morbidity, mortality and disability due to diarrhea, pneumonia, measles, tetanus, tuberculosis, infections of the throat and chest, cancer of the liver and cancer of the cervix, leprosy, polio myelitis, rubella, vitamin A deficiency, lack of energy for childhood development due to blood loss caused by blood sucking worms in the intestines of our children.
According to Minister Kaducu, the services provided during the Integrated Child Health days October 2020 will include; Routine Immunization catch-up vaccination, Deworming, Vitamin A supplementation in addition to Family planning services and general health education.
The minister noted that accumulation of unimmunized children weakens population immunity and is a risk for outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.
“The ICHD of October 2020 is therefore a catch up opportunity for; Routine Immunization, HPV vaccination, TB vaccination, deworming and Vitamin A, Nutrition assessment and Hep B screening, vaccination and linkage to care for implementing regions. The goal of the October ICHD is to offer ICHD service package to all individuals who are due in the month of October, and catch up for those with disrupted schedules” She said.
Ministry of Health has called upon all health facilities to provide immunization services daily at static points including those on the ICHD package to minimize missed opportunities for immunization, health facilities and sub county administrations to ensure two immunization outreach services are carried to every parish in the month of October, support thorough mobilization of villages by Health assistants, Parish Chiefs, Village Health Teams and LC 1 councils.
The ministry further urged the adult population above 18 years in Kigezi, Ankole, Toro, Bunyoro and Buganda regions to turn up for Hepatitis B screening in October and those found positive will be linked to care.
Kaducu also urged health officials to create awareness and support social mobilization for maternal Child Health Services in the context of COVID- 19 pandemic: maintain social distancing, sanitize frequently and wear a mask at all times.