MARACHA. Maracha district council has tasked ministry of health to review the effectiveness of the hepatitis B vaccines used for mass vaccination against the disease in West Nile region.
The councilors were moved during a special council sitting last Friday to pay tribute to the district’s deputy district chairperson Robert Asiku following the alleged new infections registered from vaccinated people.
Asiku died on the night of Wednesday at Arua regional hospital due to hepatitis B, according to the postmortem report.
The emotionally charged councilors while paying tribute to the deceased in the council hall, appealed for urgent intervention to control the disease which makes its victims to undergo severe pain before death.
The district’s health officer Dr. Paul Onzubo, however, ruled out infections due to the ineffectiveness of the vaccines arguing that the new infections are affecting people who shunned to be vaccinated.
According to Dr. Onzubo, the vaccines used during the mass vaccination program were approved by the World Health Organization and the ministry of health.
He said fake Hepatitis B vaccines discovered in Uganda recently ended in private clinics in Kampala and the government responded appropriately and swiftly to dispose of them.
Ms. Rose Atima Ayaka, the woman MP for the district seconded the explanation of the district health officer saying the program was monitored by both technocrats and politicians.
She appealed for the leaders to mobilize their subordinates to take advantage of the vaccines that are due to expire in the health facilities in the district.
But the Maracha County MP Mr. Denis Oguzu Lee said it is hard to believe that the vaccines used were safe over the allegation of corruption among key health workers.
The bereaved family members ruled out foul play by anyone leading to the demise Robert Asiku and threatened to sue anyone forging such allegations for political gains.
Hepatitis B is a viral disease which spreads through contact with an infected person’s blood, semen or other body fluids.
The hepatitis B vaccine has been available since the 1980s and was given to newborns, children, and teens in the United States but childhood vaccination was rolled out in Uganda since 2002.
According to the 2016 Uganda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA) Survey, the prevalence of Hepatitis B infection among adults stands at 4.3% (5.6% among men and 3.1% among women).
Vaccination has been ongoing in the West Nile region where a survey indicates that Hepatitis B prevalence is highest in Northern region with 4.6% in mid-North, 4.4% in North East and 3.8% in West Nile.