- A success story about the myth on Immunization.
Child Hug Uganda (CHU) among its objectives aims at saving lives of children and their mothers, preventing premature death and disability, improving ability of children to learn, reduce health sector costs for hospital care or economic loss to society through providing immunization programs to the community of Kole District.
Ms. Winnie Acen is a 26 year old female and a primary school teacher of Te-abolo Village, Bala Parish, Bala Sub-sub-county , Kole district. Winnie narrates how her perceived myth about immunization begun when her sister gave birth to her first child and their mother refused that the child should not be immunized emphasizing that she never immunized any of her children because the vaccines are not safe and caused autism. She narrated; the combined vaccine against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DPT) and the vaccine against Poliomyelitis causes sudden infant death syndrome. She further lamented that she believed giving a child more than one vaccine at the same time could increase the risk of harmful side effects and could over load the child’s immune system.
However, when she gave birth it was a coincidence that the CHU-staffs were present at the facility and when she tried explaining her thoughts about the dangers of vaccinating her infant child. The Officer along with other CHU staffs told her that the vaccines were safe and that licensing of a vaccine required exhaustive evaluation and testing to make sure that it was both safe and effective. She was also told that there was no evidence of a link between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine (or any other vaccine) and autism or autistic disorders.
The CHU staffs also told me that “Giving several vaccines at the same time has no negative effect on a child’s immune system and through just breathing and eating; children are every day exposed to several hundred foreign substances that trigger an immune response.” They further told me that a child is exposed to far more antigens from a common cold or sore throat than they are from vaccines. They told me that combined vaccines save time and money through fewer clinic visits; reduce discomfort for the child through fewer injections and increases the probability that the child will receive the complete set of vaccinations according to the national schedule.
With the support from CHU -MNCH Officer, a visit was paid to Winnie’s home who was further advised on the importance of immunization and the need to continue encouraging her fellow women to immunize their children. Winnie urges her fellow women to immunize their children so as to save the child’s life.
She explained that immunization can save the family time and money. She further explains that a child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or child care facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. She further lamented that immunization protects future generations. She concluded that; if we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.
2. A Success story on the Importance of Group Antenatal Care at community
Pamela Ekwaro is a 38 year old female of Wicere Village, Omuge Parish, Bala Sub-County in Kole District. She is married to George Ekwaro with 8 Children and she is happy to share with CHU as one of the beneficiary.
She previously attended group antenatal meetings in the community but she added that she didn’t know it was necessary to attend all 8 visits. She narrates that, “I always believed that it was a waste of time to attend all the visits because of the too much homework, long distances and also I didn’t have full support from my husband.”
she added „through health education by the VHTs of Omuge Parish, I was able to join G-ANC of pregnant women where they were able to receive ANC services because midwives would always visit the group quarterly to offer services like health education on birth preparedness plans, danger signs in pregnancy and importance of having birth preparedness plans, importance of ANC attendance and encourage male involvement and support„
she narrated further; „I was able to deliver from a health facility where I got all the recommended services from the midwives. I was also informed about family planning and its benefits which cleared the earlier misconception I about family planning methods and their effects„
She further added that, “I was also recruited in a nutrition family care group of children who are 0-23 months, where I and my child benefited on nutrition counseling and assessment.” This helped to improve on the health of my baby and I in terms of nutritional benefit.
posted June 2021