Uganda Grapples With Pediatric Vaccine Shortages



Uganda continues to face widespread vaccine shortages. Most health centers across the country have critical shortages needed to protect against tuberculosis, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, rotavirus, and pneumonia. “The current major problem on the vaccines is the distribution issue,” says Asuman Lukwago, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health. “We are working around the clock to have the problem solved and sorted out immediately.” Procurement was shifted to an autonomous government corporation in 2011, but problems continue. The government has slashed the budget for the Expanded Program on Immunization by more than half in recent years. About 48 percent of children under five are believed to be either unimmunized or under-immunized, and health officials are concerned that the frequent shortages could discourage mothers from bringing their children in for immunizations.

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