CHF 116,006 was approved from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) in delivering assistance to 999,068 children from 6 months to 15 years vulnerable to a measles outbreak. Un-earmarked funds to repay the DREF were encouraged.
Summary: The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Uganda confirmed an outbreak of measles in Kamwenge district on 9th August, 2013. This followed previous outbreaks that were reported in Kyenjojo, Mubende and Isingiro districts of Uganda. The confirmation caused concerns of further spread to additional districts and across borders pausing further threats to the lives and wellbeing of the population in Uganda and the extended region. Concerted efforts by partners and stakeholders led to massive interventions and by the end of December 2013, no new cases were reported in these districts. In total, as of 18th December 2013, 140 Children had been confirmed or linked to have contracted the measles disease with only 2 deaths reported since the declaration, which is a case fatality of only 1.4%.
The URCS (secured funding support from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund -DREF) joined the interventions by among others: Ministry of health (MoH), through Uganda Expanded Program for Immunization (UNEPI), the district health office and some local partners all of who intensified social mobilization activities for accelerated routine vaccination in Kamwenge, Kyenjojo, Mubende and Isingiro. This led to scaled up routine immunization for children to prevent others from contracting the disease. The districts and MoH conducted a cascaded approach from sub-national to district and finally to sub-county level for the measles mini vaccination campaigns in an effort to cut the measles transmission cycle in the affected areas during the month of October. These activities were supplemented with the promotion of Periodically Intensified Routine Immunization (PIRI) on 19-21 October 2013 as a result of the wild polio virus confirmation in the horn of Africa.
The Uganda Red Cross during the operation trained and deployed 430 volunteers in the community who intensively mobilized the affected population through house to house community sensitization providing information on the need and benefits of vaccinating children to the parents and care givers. They registered children between 0 months and 59 months, identified defaulters and encouraged those who have never been immunized or did not complete their immunization schedules to go to the designated health. Strategic partnership sensitization was done in schools, religious institutions and in communities. In addition media campaigns and community based disease surveillance were done. With the DREF support the program was successfully completed by end of December with an end of campaign field survey to estimate the impact of URCS activities. This final report is a narrative account of achievements, challenges and suggestions for future implementation arising from the campaign implementation against measles in these districts.