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Role models critical to step up immunization in the country

© Cassim Kaggwa
Amina Kakondi shares her children's immunization cards with the Ministry Health Supervisor

By Cassim Kaggwa

While immunization is one of the most important health interventions and best way of protecting people (especially children, girls and women of child bearing age) from vaccine preventable diseases, a good number of parents do not take immunisation seriously and do not see immunisation as one of the their key family care practices.

However, Amina Kakondi, a mother of five children, is not among those parents who disregard the importance of immunisation. During support supervision visits for the Polio House to House Campaign (9 to 11 September 2017), one of the Ministry of Health teams was following up on issues concerning immunization and met with Ms. Kakondi who accorded the team a warm reception and was more than willing to provide the team with information that was needed.

Kakondi quickly mentioned that, “Me I cannot keep any of my children un-immunised, because I have witnessed children who never got immunized suffer from diseases like Olunkusense (Measles) and Akalaakiro (Whooping Cough)." When she was asked how many times a child should be taken for immunisation, she instantly answered 5 times. When she was requested to mention what the child was protected against on each of these 5 visits, she knew the immunisation schedule and specific locations on the body where the immunization was administered, but not the specific disease by antigen.

Nevertheless Kakondi was able to remember drops in the mouth which protect children against Polio and the Measles injection at 9 Months. Kakondi was aware of the Polio supplementary immunization activities and said, “I am always very keen about health information especially if it is to do with protecting my children."

She mentioned her sources of information including, health workers at Nabukalu Health Centre, Village Health Team members, Radio and mobile sound systems used by districts to disseminate key health information. 

Kakondi was also aware that campaigns do not replace routine immunisation. On this she said, “Health workers say we have to continue with routine immunisation after the mass immunisation campaigns.”

Kakondi had all her five children’s health cards and she had kept them well. 

She also revealed to the team that the father of her children was at first against immunisation and warned her in case anything wrong happened to any of his children due to immunisation she would answer for it.

She further narrated that, “I insisted and thank God nothing wrong happened.”

She went on to say that, “My husband came to appreciate after an outbreak of Measles occurred in the area and our 3 children by then survived. He is now the first to remind me to take our children for immunisation.”

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