Uganda is set to immunize over 18 million children against measles and rubella in a five-day mass immunization campaign starting on Wednesday.

The five-day Campaign funded by the Government of Uganda, the Vaccine Alliance, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization intends to tackle these three public health challenges.

The immunization campaign includes 8.2 million children younger than nine months, 20.5percent of the population, will also receive oral vaccine.

Uganda has experienced measles outbreaks across numerous districts in the past three years at the same time polio remains a daunting threat, given the evidence of vaccine-derived strains circulating in neighboring countries

The campaign to be conducted in schools for the first three days and in communities for the last two days, targets all children younger than 15 years whether previously immunized or not, in order to interrupt the circulation of these diseases.

Health authorities in Uganda on going with the immunization campaign

The campaign will also be launchpad to introduce the measles-rubella vaccine into the country’s routine immunization schedule.

‘This campaign does not replace the routine immunization schedule. Parents, caregivers and all concerned must ensure that all children receive and complete all the vaccines specified on our immunization schedule after the campaign,’ said Ugandan Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng.

She added that the mass campaign provides an opportunity to intensify sensitization of communities on measles, rubella and polio as well as disease surveillance and to investigate any unreported but suspected cases of these diseases.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti pointed out that this exercise is extremely important adding that it represents an impressive level of commitment to health care that we need more than ever across the African Region to prevent deaths, diseases and suffering and avoid unnecessary expenditure when caring for people who are sick.

During the campaign teams of health workers will set up vaccination service delivery posts across the country with the objective of attaining more than 95 percent immunization coverage which is needed to interrupt the transmission of measles, rubella and polio.