Immunizing children in Northern Uganda
Over 20 years of civil war in Uganda has weakened the economy and caused widespread poverty and disease. The worst fighting has been in Northern Uganda in the districts of Kitgum, Pader, and Gulu. Here, residents have been forced to move into densely concentrated displacement camps where hygiene and sanitation is poor, leaving residents vulnerable to disease.
Immunization programs have been in place in Northern Uganda since 2003. However, immunization remains a low priority for people. Men don’t take their children to be immunized and women are often too busy working on the farms. Moreover, the war has severely interrupted program implementation, making rural populations hard to reach and interfering with the delivery of immunization supplies.
Now that an uneasy peace exists in Northern Uganda, previously displaced people are returning to their villages or to satellite camps close to their original homes. Hopefully, people will gradually resume control of their lives. However, with people dispersing from concentrated settlements, access to health care services will be significantly reduced.
Main objectives of the program
- Increase full immunization among infants
- Boost community support and demand for immunization
- Raise awareness of the need for immunization
- Strengthen the district system to improve static and outreach immunization activities
- Improve the monitoring and supervision of immunization activities
- Retrain community vaccinators
- Encourage men to take their children to be immunized
- Improved immunization coverage, including hard-to-reach populations
- Increased awareness of the need to immunize and consequently, a higher demand for immunization
- Establishing child health days to encourage mothers to attend immunization sessions for themselves and their children
- Reduced burden of disease among the immunized
- Retraining of community members to vaccinate individuals and facilitate the program
- Reliable immunization outreach program established
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