The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the lives of Ugandans and various institutions, including the health sector. Due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions among other disruptions, children and other individuals have not been able to access some of the essential health services.
It should be noted that every year in October, the Ministry of Health intensifies maternal and child health and survival activities during the Integrated Child Health Days (ICHDs).
On such days, the government is able to reinforce the sensitization on preventable morbidity, mortality and disability due to diarrhoea, pneumonia, measles, tetanus, tuberculosis, infections of the throat and other infant diseases.
Services including routine immunization, catch-up vaccination, deworming, vitamin A supplementation, family planning services and general health education are prioritized.
Hon Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State Minister for Primary Health Care revealed that the goal for this October is to offer ICHD service packages to all individuals who are due in October, and catch up for those with disrupted schedules.
Kaducu confirmed that there’s a backlog on various health services due to COVID-19 lockdown.
“As a consequence, there is a backlog of 1,200,000 girls aged 10 and 11 year who need vaccination against cancer of the cervix, 17,300,000 children below 15 years who needed deworming to prevent blood loss to worms and nearly 500,000 children who missed various dosses of routine vaccination over time,” she stressed.
She also said that there is an estimated 12 million people aged 19 years and above in Kigezi, Ankole, Toro and Buganda regions in need of Hepatitis B screening and vaccination for prevention of liver cirrhosis and cancer of the liver.
“The ICHD of October 2020 is therefore to catch up opportunity for; routine immunisation, HPV and TB vaccination, deworming and Vitamin A administration, nutrition assessment and Hepatitis B screening, vaccination and linkage to care for implementing regions,” she added.
The Ministry of Health has called on all health facilities to provide immunization services daily at static points including those on the Integrated Child Health Days package to minimize missed opportunities for immunization.
Adults above 18 years in Kigezi, Ankole, Toro and Buganda regions have also been urged to turn up for Hepatitis B screaming at various health centres this October.