By Kampala Post Reporter
Ministry of Health has hailed the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) for the support in the ongoing mass Measles-Rubella and Polio immunization campaign.
Permanent Secretary Doctor Diana Atwine says the UPDF was instrumental in the quick delivery of immunization vaccines and also joining the Ministry health workers in immunizing the children. UPDF Air Force on Sunday airlifted vaccines from Entebbe to five destinations across the country in support of the immunization exercise.
UPDF Helicopters delivered vaccines to Gulu, Kiruhura, Soroti, Mbarara and Kabale Districts following an emergency request by the Ministry of Health to the UPDF for a quick delivery to arrest a possible drug shortage. The choppers were able to deliver the vaccines to the destinations in less than two hours.
The Commander Air Forces, Lt Gen Charles Lutaaya says the UPDF is always ready to respond with its capabilities in support of civil authorities for the good of the nation. “We always respond at the shortest notice. We have standby assets for such eventualities. We are glad to offer any form of support when called upon,” said Lt Gen Lutaaya, adding that Air Force has on many occasions supported the civil authorities and government initiatives.
The UPDF also used its nationwide ground network to support the Ministry of Health’s ongoing nationwide vaccination drive. The UPDF Director Public Health, Col. Dr. Ambrose Oiko said every UPDF health facility has contributed personnel towards the vaccination campaign. “We are as well part of the Ministry of health and so we participate in all its activities. They trained our personnel to beef up manpower for the conduct of this important exercise,” said Dr. Oiko, adding that all UPDF vaccinators are currently participating in the exercise in all military health centres and others are deployed to support health units near their duty stations.
The UPDF Commander Land Forces Lt Gen Peter Elwelu says the UPDF is a suitable institution to partner with in any government program because it has several capabilities and deploys in all parts of the country, including the hard to reach areas such as parts of Karamoja. He gave an example of UPDF Acholi Pii Health Center IV in Pader that serves a wide land area and is as such an important point in all government health programs in the area. He said all UPDF commanders have been at the forefront in mobilizing the soldiers’ families and the neighboring communities to embrace the nationwide immunization program.
Meanwhile the Ministry on Sunday extended the mass immunization exercise by another day. The exercise that has been running since Tuesday, will now end today October 21. “Ministry of Health Uganda is extending the ongoing MRCampaign19 for one day (Monday 21 October, 2019) in the entire country following increased demand for the Measles Rubella and Polio vaccines and the high turn up of clients,” Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said.