HEALTH: The Ministry of Health in Uganda will on Friday June 9th 2023, start a Yellow fever mass preventive vaccination campaign in specified regions
The Campaign dubbed Yellow fever mass preventive vaccination is targeting all individuals aged 9 months to 60 years old who will get vaccinated against Yellow Fever at a free cost under the theme One Injection = Lifetime protection
Yellow Fever is a viral disease transmitted through bites of infected mosquitoes.
The disease is preventable by vaccination. The Yellow fever Campaign23 will take place from 9 – 13 June 2023 in Kabale, Arua, Gulu, Lira, Kabarole and Hoima.
Some of the Yellow fever symptoms include headache, vomiting, fatigue, fever, muscle pain, Nausea, Jaundice among others.
In 2022, Uganda was one of 14 countries in Africa reporting confirmed cases of yellow fever. With the support of the Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) Strategy and its key partners, including the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a multi-country outbreak response was organized in neighbouring countries that faced more serious yellow fever transmission.
During the Integrated Child Health Days (ICHD) activities in October 2022, Uganda maintained its plans to introduce the yellow fever vaccine into its routine immunization programme.
“Uganda is committed to controlling yellow fever transmission,” said Dr Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, Uganda’s Minister of Health. “We want to ensure that our people are protected against this high-threat disease, and vaccines remain the main tool we have to efficiently prevent and contain yellow fever outbreaks.”
Uganda is a high-risk country for yellow fever transmission due to less than 10 per cent of the population being immunized against it, with sporadic outbreaks occurring every 3 to 5 years.
Around 24% of Ugandans (approximately 44 million in total), live in urban areas with roughly half of those living in slums. Urban outbreaks of yellow fever in densely populated areas with low population immunity and often with poor sanitation can have catastrophic consequences.
Yellow fever is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti or Haemagogus mosquito species and outbreaks in Uganda originate mainly from sylvatic, or jungle, transmission. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected primates and then bite humans during agricultural and other activities in forested areas. Humans can then carry the virus to other areas, including urban centres, where it is spread by mosquitoes from human to human.
Yellow fever infections can cause serious illness and, in up to 30–60 per cent of severe cases, death. There are no specific therapeutics to treat the disease, but early supportive care increases survival rates. Crucially, there is a vaccine against yellow fever, and it is safe, highly effective and only a single dose is needed for life-long protection.
In addition to the success of the roll-out of yellow fever vaccine into its routine immunization schedule, Uganda is implementing a phased preventive mass vaccination campaign (PMVC) by administering 13 million vaccine doses in 2023, for which Gavi provided funding through a campaign operations grant. It target areas deemed most vulnerable to outbreaks.