Uganda: Infant health threatened as district faces vaccine deficit

Kabarole district, western Uganda is facing a shortage of vaccines due to an ongoing stockout by the National Medical Stores (NMS), an official has said.

Kabarole district, western Uganda is facing a shortage of vaccines due to an ongoing stockout by the National Medical Stores (NMS), an official has said.

“We have a shortage that has been ongoing for a month and it has been affecting children under five years. I have been in touch with NMS and they promised to fix the problem in two weeks’ time,” the district health officer Dr Richard Mugahi said.

The unavailable vaccines are Pentavalent and BCG, whih immunise against diseases such as measles and whooping cough. Immunisation is one of the most important preventive health actions in children’s lives as it provides protection against the most dangerous childhood diseases.

“If children are not vaccinated they are at a risk of contracting diseases such as measles, whooping cough among others, which may be fatal in some cases,” Dr Mugahi said.
He advised parents to endeavour for their children to be immunised despite the current vaccine shortage.

Dr Charles Olaro, director of Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital, said the government was planning to establish a regional vaccine store to help solve the shortage problems.

“The store will help us reduce the lag time of supply from NMS. We are yet to identify the land where it will be located,” Mr Olaro said. He added that the government should also consider establishing regional stores for other drugs as well as vaccines.

Dr Olaro added: “When those vaccines come they [the children] will be vaccinated. The only risk now is that when they are attacked by diseases such as TB – they are at a high risk of acquiring it easily if they don’t have protection.”

Reports also indicate that Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital has a shortage of Septrin, which is the most effective drug in preventing a type of pneumonia called PCP in people living with HIV, especially for people with CD4 counts below 100.

The drug also reduces the risk of toxoplasmosis, an infection that can affect the brain.

 

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