WHO urges nations to donate COVID vaccines to Uganda for survival of rural health care

As East African countries including Uganda continue to grapple with COVID, the World Health Organisation urged international organisations to support the country with the vaccines, news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday. According to the report, WHO representative to Uganda Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam appealed to the nations to donate the COVID vaccines to the country in order to provide the health staff working in the remote areas of the country. While speaking to the reporters at the capital city, Kampala, the WHO official said that the developing countries need support to ensure that vaccines reach everyone including those in remote areas.

He stressed the country had been going through a tough phase due to the spread of the virus as well as the vaccine shortage. Also, he said that the country hds collected some funds for the vaccine program but noted the fund was too little to handle the chaotic situation in the country.

“We need support to take the vaccines to the districts for health workers to be able to do the vaccination, for monitoring, for looking into the adverse effects. All these things require funding and yes the government of Uganda has allocated some funds but the requirement is far higher,” Xinhua news quoted the WHO representative to Uganda as saying to the reporters. Notably, the country has been majorly administering CoronaVac, also known as the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine– an inactivated vaccine developed by the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech. 

Distribution of vaccines is costly: Uganda Immunization head

On Wednesday, the WHO representative was addressing the media when the country received the second batch of Sinovac vaccines donated by the Chinese government. He informed the reporters that the first batch of Sinovac arrived in July. Meanwhile, the head of Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization, Alfred Driwale, during an interview told Xinhua that the administration of vaccines is expensive since contributions are made in small batches. He stressed that the trucks have to ferry several times to distribute the vaccine.

“We have to train them each time on the vaccine type, cold chain requirements. These overheads which are required for safe delivery of vaccines are very expensive,” Xinhua quoted Driwale. As per the official figures, the country of nearly four million has received 6.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far. As per the ministry of health, the country has registered 1,25,283 COVID-19 cases and 3,187 deaths.

Image: AP

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