Adapted from New Vision
By Anne Mugisa
THE Ministry of Health wants $35m (about sh80b) to purchase the yellow fever vaccine for 10 districts in the north to stop the spread of deadly viral disease.
The disease, which recurred after about 40 years, has spread to the 10th district of Kotido and cases climbed to 183 from 178, the Director General of Health Services, Dr. Kenya Mugisha, said yesterday.
He, however, said the death toll remained at 45.
Other districts where the disease has been found are Abim, Agago, Lamwo, Kitgum, Pader, Gulu, Arua, Kaabong and Lira.
According to Mugisha, most of the patients were discharged from hospital, but 23 were still being treated at different health centres.
He, however, said if the ministry got $10m (sh23b), it would immunise everybody, which he said is not possible now.
The vaccine, he added, was not available at the ministry because it was not part of the routine immunisations.
Mugisha said the vaccine is available in Kampala City Council clinics and others in Kampala, where people intending to travel abroad have been undergoing immunisation.
Travellers are required to be immunised at least 10 days before travelling. The vaccine protects one for 10 years.
With the latest outbreak, at least 2.5 million people will be vaccinated against the disease in northern Uganda.
According to Mugisha, 2.5 million vials of the yellow fever vaccine will be urgently imported to protect the people from the deadly disease, which is spread by mosquitoes.
The disease, which has a high fatality rate, can kill in a week, according to medical officers.
The ministry, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the Centres for Disease Control and other partners, is working on the importation of the vaccine, which is expected in the country in January.
Meanwhile, the ministry has asked people to observe precautionary measures to avoid contracting the disease.
These include avoiding mosquito bites, especially during the day, sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets and destroying breeding grounds of mosquitoes, including draining stagnant water and clearing bushes around residences.
The ministry also advises anybody who gets symptoms like fever, muscle and back pain, headache, shivering, loss of appetite and vomiting to immediately report to the nearest health facility for treatment.