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Kitgum Covid-19 Taskforce Seeks UGX 39.5M To Boost Vaccination

Kitgum District health department received 3,120 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Health Ministry in March this year. However available statistics show that only 1,066 doses of the vaccines have been used representing only 34.2 percent of the total vaccines released to five health facilities in the district.
Acting Kitgum General Hospital Medical Superintendant Dr Geoffery Okello gets covid-19 Jab at the Launch of covid-19 vaccination in Kitgum District in March 2021

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Kitgum District Covid-19 task force is hunting for 39.5 Million Shillings to boost uptake of the covid-19 vaccine. 

This comes as few people have turned up to take the AstraZeneca vaccine jab, nearly two months after the Health Ministry launched countrywide covid-19 vaccination.

Kitgum District health department received 3,120 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Health Ministry in March this year.

However available statistics show that only 1,066 doses of the vaccines have been used representing only 34.2 percent of the total vaccines released to five health facilities in the district.

Data obtained by Uganda Radio Network-URN indicates that only 268 health workers, 223 teachers, 81 security personnel, 152 elders, and 342 other essentials workers took the covid-19 jab since March 17 this year.

William Komakech, Kitgum Resident District Commissioner also chairperson of District Taskforce says that the low uptake of the covid-19 vaccine has forced them to seek support from stakeholders.

Komakech says rumours spread on social media about alleged negative side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccines greatly instilled fears among the locals to voluntarily take up the covid-19 vaccine jab.

According to Komakech, the three Sub-counties of Lagoro, Namokora, and Orom have registered the lowest turn up of locals for the covid-19 vaccination in the district.

Statistics indicate that only three people were vaccinated in Orom Health Center III in Orom Sub-county, 80 in Akuna Laber Health Center III in Lagoro Sub-county and 84 at Namokora Health Center IV in Namokora Town Council.

Komakech says the task force has since turned the remaining 30 health centres into vaccination spots closer to the community adding that the fund being sought for will help in facilitating awareness drives. 

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He is however worried that the low vaccination coverage may see close to 2,000 doses of the vaccines getting expired or even withdrawn by the Health Ministry to be utilized in other districts with high covid-19 vaccination coverage.

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Bezy Omoya, the Senior Administrator Kitgum General Hospital who also doubles as the district Covid-19 publicity Chairperson suspects the low vaccination coverage could have resulted from low sensitization conducted by local leaders.

Omoya says important people in the community comprising of the Village Health Teams-VHT and Local Council I&II Chairpersons were not adequately empowered to mobilize the locals in the community.

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At Kitgum General Hospital, a total of 644 people had been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine by last week. However only one person had by Tuesday, May 25, 2021, returned for the second dose of vaccination.

Emmanuel Ainebyona, the Ministry of Health Senior Public Relations Officer didn't comment on this matter saying an official communication will be made on Wednesday by the Director-General Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa on the Covid-19 vaccine uptake in the country.

 

Kitgum District currently has only one patient with Covid-19 undergoing home-based care. Out of 2,139 covid-19 test conducted in the district,290 cases turned positive of which 163 were inmates from Kitgum Central Prison. 

Uganda acquired 964,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines through the Covax global sharing initiative and a donation from the Indian government facility in March this year. The vaccines according to the Health Ministry will expire by July this year.