The Ministry of Health recently launched a mass immunization campaign in Omoro district aimed at preventing disaster in the event of a meningitis outbreak in the country. But while the leaders appreciated the government’s efforts on controlling the disease, they appealed to the government to dig them latrines as a way to stop the spread of other diseases.
The Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng this week launched an immunisation exercise against Meningococcal Meningitis. The exercise was launched in Omoro as part of a larger campaign that will seek to provide the protective vaccine to 39 high-risk districts especially in Northern Uganda.
The one week meningitis immunisation campaign in Omoro is scheduled to take place between January 19 to 24, 2017. The ministry of health has created 133 immunization outreach posts to cover the six traditional sub counties.
Minister Aceng said: “We highly anticipate another outbreak Meningitis outbreak among the selected high risk districts include; Abim, Adjumani, Arua, Gulu, Hoima ,Lira, Kotido, Katakwi from 1 to 29, years of age,” said Aceng.
The launch of the meningitis immunisation campaign comes shortly after the disease killed several people in Nakaseke district.
According to WHO, Meningococcal Meningitis is primarily caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria transmitted from person to person through infected air droplets, saliva, or respiratory secretions.
Staying in overcrowded housing, dormitories, cruise ships, attending a sports or cultural event, as well as sharing utensils, coughing, sneezing, or kissing can contribute to outbreaks. The bacteria target the meninges – the thin lining that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord
Besides Nakaseke, the disease has been identified in Adjumani especially in refugee camps.
While Minister Aceng concentrated her efforts in getting everyone to throw their weight behind the exercise, local leaders had other pressing demands to present to the minister.
For example retired army captain Santos Okot Lapolo one of the area leaders decried the poor state of sanitation in the district to which he attributed the outbreak of several epidemics such as the mysterious Nodding disease syndrome, Hepatitis B and Meningitis.
Lapolo did not hide shame from the fact that most of his people deficate in bushes In fact he urged the government to come to the rescue of the people by building them community latrines.
Besides poor sanitation, the area member of Parliament who is also the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanya lamented the alarming levels of teenage pregnancy in the district.
Oulanya told the people that: “It is sad that you survived the Kony War and now you are risking HIV! Be responsible and think of the future of your families and your country. We are tired of pregnant young girls carrying children belonging to old men. Girls are the future, stop giving them a burden of early pregnancies,” Oulanyah noted.
Other districts where the ministry plans to immunise against Meningococcal are; Arua, Zombo, Koboko, Adjumani, Nebbi, Maracha, Moyo, Yumbe, Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum, Lamwo, Nwoya, Pader, Agago, Omoro, Dokolo, Lira, Alebtong, Kole, Otuke, Amolatar, Apac, Oyam, Hoima, Masindi, Buliisa, Kiryadongo, Amuria, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Soroti, Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto, Nakapiripiriti, and Napak.