World Immunization Week is April 24-30, 2021. This week, we are celebrating vaccines by promoting their use to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful health interventions. Vaccines work.
During a medical outreach in Amuru District, Uganda a health worker immunizes a young child (Photo: Amref Health Africa).
Bringing Immunization to Children in Rural Communities
Since last March, restrictions on movement due to COVID-19 have prevented many families in Uganda from completing their children’s immunizations on schedule. This disruption has led to most children getting their vaccinations later than their approved timing which affects the strength of the vaccine, leaving children vulnerable to common childhood diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and polio. As a response, Amref Health Africa adapted their existing programs to bring essential health care services, such as immunization, closer to communities during the ongoing pandemic.
In Amuru District, Amref Health Africa, through its Total Health Project, organized medical outreaches in the district and brought immunization services closer to the community.
In sub-county Lamogi, over 300 children had missed their immunization schedules. When the services were brought closer to the community, many parents lined up to have their children fully vaccinated against diseases like measles.
A Voice from the Community
Mama Lamoro, a 26-year-old woman, carried her 8-month-old baby Akello, when she shared that “I could not take my child for immunization during the lockdown because I could not walk very long distances with the child. The boda bodas (motorbike taxis) were not going long distances too because of the lockdown and curfew, so I had to wait for the medical outreach to get my baby immunized against measles. My child had passed her immunization date by two months.”
Mama Lamoro is not alone. Many mothers were affected by the pandemic and the only way they could get their children immunized was through medical outreaches.
In partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Amuru District Health Officials we have been able to support medical outreaches where over 1,500 children have been fully immunized against childhood diseases.