Promoting child survival goals in Uganda
3,337 children under five years have been immunized in the month of November 2018 in Kyangwali, Kikuube district in western Uganda. Of these, 371 children received the measles vaccine while 127 aged under one year were immunized against 9 vaccine preventable diseases – polio, tuberculosis, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, measles and haemophilus influenza type B. The initiative is under a health project being implemented by the Uganda programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) with funding support from UNHCR.
The main goal of the health project is to ensure that the health status of the population is improved and avoidable morbidity and mortality of refugees and the surrounding host community is reduced. Achieving child survival goals in Kikuube district entails supporting access to safe, effective, high-quality and affordable care for all. Other aspects of the health project include the provision and support of health care services in comprehensive safe motherhood, reproductive health, appropriate infant and young child feeding practices and management of acute malnutrition.
The project is combining the administration of vitamin A supplements with immunization services in order to eliminate vitamin A deficiency and save lives. In November 2018, 2,106 children aged 6-59 months received vitamin supplements. Other nutrition-related activities conducted in the same month included growth monitoring for 3,020 children under-five years and screening for acute malnutrition for 2,742 children. 240 children found to be moderately malnourished and 154 severely malnourished were admitted on therapeutic care.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest under-five mortality rate in the world. In 2017, the region had an average under-five mortality rate of 76 deaths per 1,000 live births. This translates to 1 in 13 children dying before his or her fifth birthday. Recent data from the Demographic and Survey indicated that Uganda has under-five mortality of 64/1,000 live births. The project is complementing target 3.2 Sustainable Development Goal 3 of ending all preventable deaths for children under 5 years and aims to contribute to the reduction of neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under‑5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.