Yellow fever: Parents, schools in Luwero reject vaccination of learners

Yellow fever: Parents, schools in Luwero reject vaccination of learners

10 schools in Luwero district are under investigation for blocking health workers from vaccinating learners against yellow fever.

The schools are Mama’s Child Primary School in Wobulenzi town, Bugema Seventh Day Adventist Primary and Secondary Schools, Kisa Primary School, Ristak Primary and Secondary Schools in Busiika town council among others.

The Ministry of Health with support from partners embarked on mass vaccination in 53 districts from 2nd-8th April this week to eliminate yellow fever from Uganda. In Luwero district, the health department has deployed 201 health teams in 101 parishes to vaccinate both learners in schools and residents between 1-60 years old.

In the revised target, Luwero district intends to vaccinate 450,000 out of the 559,000 projected population.

However, the health workers have met resistance in some schools and others have been attacked for vaccinating the learners without seeking the consent of the parents.

At Kikube Health Center II in Butuntumula sub-county, health workers were attacked by parents and forced to apologize for vaccinating a child without seeking consent from her parent. The parent expressed reservations about the exercise insisting that the child may suffer negative effects from the vaccine.

Doctor Innocent Nkonwa the Luwero District Health Officer said that health workers were blocked from vaccinating learners in ten schools and these have been forwarded to the District Security Committee to summon the headteachers to explain why they are resisting the government programme.

Nkonwa added that they have also registered cases where parents threatened to beat school headteachers and health workers after finding that their children had been vaccinated without their consent.

He explained that neither a school nor a health worker needs consent from parents to vaccinate the child and headteachers who have blocked the exercise face charges as stipulated in Public Health Act.

Richard Bwabye the Luwero District Resident District Commissioner condemned the schools that blocked health workers and vowed to deal with the headteachers for violating the Public Health Act.

 

But Steven Bukenya of Bugema SDA Secondary School denied blocking the health workers and insisted that he was ready to embrace the exercise.

James Kasawuli Musoke the headteacher of Quality Model Primary School in Butuntumula sub-county said that a parent armed with a stick also attacked and threatened to beat him after learning that his child had been vaccinated.

Kasawuli added that the parent later withdrew the pupil in protest whereas the other parents also intimidated him but the exercise had been completed.

Other headteachers said they were willing to cooperate with health workers but needed to notify parents about the exercise.

Daniel Kyaterekera the District Secretary for Education said that some headteachers are in fear that parents may sue them in case a child is vaccinated and suffers from the negative effects of the vaccines.

Kyaterekera added that there is also inadequate sensitization of headteachers about the exercise to also answer the parent’s queries about the vaccination.

Yellow fever is a viral infection that is spread to humans through a bite from a mosquito carrying the virus. The disease causes fever, yellowing of the eyes and bleeding from anybody opening including the mouth, nose, eyes among others.

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