Uganda draft law would jail parents who don’t vaccinate kids

CCTV News

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Uganda has drafted a law that would jail parents who decline to immunize children below the age of five. Many myths surround immunization in Uganda, some parents believe it causes severe disabilities in children.

CCTV’s Hillary Ayesiga reports from Kampala, Uganda.

Uganda draft law would jail parents who don\'t vaccinate kids

Uganda draft law would jail parents who don\'t vaccinate kids

Uganda has drafted a law that would jail parents who decline to immunize children below the age of five. Many myths surround immunization in Uganda, some parents believe it causes severe disabilities in children.

A door-to-door polio vaccination campaign has started in Uganda and all children below under five are getting a dose, but some parents are not interested/

“I do not want to immunize my child because I have heard of cases where children were immunized with an expired drug and it caused disability,” parent Douglas Ssengooba said.

Health officials are trying to encourage as many parents as possible to embrace vaccination.

“It turned out to be a heresy and so I explained to them that this immunization has been going on for so long and within their community they could not point to any specific location or child who got a complication out of immunization and based on that they were able to understand and accept to immunize their child,” Medical Officer Christopher Oundo said.

To stamp out negative perceptions and myths about vaccination, members of parliament are now pushing for a law to punish parents who refuse to immunize their children.

“The gist of this law is to make it punishable for a parent or caretaker, guardian who willingly refuses to have children under his or her care undergo this immunization. And we have provided for punitive measures, we have put provisions that require schools to demand for immunization certificate,” Uganda Minister of Health Chris Baryomunsi said.

Lawmakers believe if the bill is passes it can help save many lives of children who die from preventable diseases. They are also urging neighboring countries including South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to strengthen their capacity to fight the spread of preventable diseases.