Immunization is a simple, safe and effective process and it is a way of protecting children against different harmful diseases that would otherwise cause serious complications and sometimes drastic death. Immunization at its best will always help the child to stay healthy. In cases when the child has not been immunized or had missed a vaccination, the process makes it easy for anybody to catch up. The paper compares and contrasts the immunization levels between Australia and Uganda by looking at the processes that would enhance immunisation utilization1. The paper will study how particular variables influence immunisation demand and coverage and how it predicts immunisation coverage rates.
Australian government has produced the highest childhood vaccination rates leading to declining rates of disease in Australian children. This report was released between 2001-2002 by the Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Vaccination Coverage in Australia and found that about 90 percent of children were fully immunized for age set that were under the Immunization Australia Program2. They had exceeded the target number and their coverage was close to their highest achievable levels in children. This has been the an indication that shows the efforts made by the general practitioners and other immunization providers who have dynamically implemented and promoted the strategy proposed by the government which entailed increasing childhood immunization rates. The strategy included proposals that Australia continues should have an enviably high vaccination coverage rate for the children.
The immunization that was given to these children included those for preventable diseases like polio, umps, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), tetanus and mrubella. The report indicates that there was an overall decline in the number of cases for the eight diseases and particularly in measles, mumps, rubella and Hib. The country had started a project estimated to cost 178 million U.S dollars for a National Childhood Pneumococcal Vaccination Program that was scheduled to start this year2. It has another project of about $298 million for National Meningococcal C Vaccination Program. This program is now into its third year and it has helped fight and reduce meningococcal disease cases in Australia.
In addition to the immunization projects above, the Government had announced the introduction of free chickenpox (varicella) vaccine. This is supposed to be given to all babies and teenagers who are at risk. The government had replaced all the oral polio vaccine with injection and had made sure that they started as early as 1st November of the year 2005 with a cost of 143.2 million U.S dollars. This was intended to cover a period of over five years. Australian government did introduce several projects as early as 1996. This is because in the year 1996, the government was willing to spend approximately $13 million on vaccines. And that is why their spending between the years 2005-2006 reached an average of $292 for National Immunization Program3.
On the other hand, in Uganda, the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, Red Cross and the WHO are supporting a campaign which is aimed to vaccinate children who are between the age of 47 months and nine years. These children should be vaccinated against measles while those who are younger than five years, are to be vaccinated against. A study has it that in Uganda, measles kill more children than any other vaccine preventable diseases. Africa News reports.4 Mugyenyi from pulse founds out that from February, there were about 2,000 polio cases that were confirmed in the country. This was after Uganda had been in straggle to eradicate the disease for more than a decade.5
Ugandan government believes that Immunization of children is a national and a global public good that will benefits everyone and especially the government. Keith McKenzie a UNICEF representative in Uganda was quoted to have said that it was not the time for complacency but it was a time to accelerate toward the good of maintaining a healthy nation.4 They had a vision and developed a strategy that in order to get rid of most of the childhood diseases like polio and measles, the country needs to achieve the 100 percent coverage. Uganda is reporting many measles cases because they have low immunization coverage.
Additionally, in 2009 after the pandemic (H1N1) had spread throughout the world, WHO (World Health Organization) provided useful information for everybody on travel related issues. Their information included where people were required to secure their travelling by considering adequate insurance or conducting a possible quarantine measures overseas. They advised that people should take out comprehensive travel insurance cover that would cover any form of overseas medical costs6. This was to be taken before an individual departed and was to include medical evacuation and any other form of related circumstances. They urged people to confirm that their insurance coved them for the whole period they will be forced to be away. Consequently, the Australian government also backed this and advised that people should check what circumstances and activities are either included or not included in their policies. Since regardless of how healthy and fit one can be when an individual cannot afford travel insurance, then they cannot afford to travel. Australian Government said prior to this that they will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
On the contrary, the medical facilities that are outside Kampala are very limited and in the event of any vaccine oriented accidents or illnesses, there would be a medical evacuation by air ambulance to Nairobi. But when the condition is serious, a medical evacuation from Kenya to any other destination would be recommended. Such evacuation from Uganda could cost individual tens of thousands of dollars. Being an African country located near Lake Victoria, malaria occurs widely and throughout the year. They also do experience other insect-borne diseases which include yellow fever, filariasis, plague and African sleeping sickness.
To counter all this, the government only advises travellers to take prophylaxis against malaria and also try to avoid bites from insects and by doing this, travellers should use insect repellents at all the time.7
In Uganda, water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases including cholera, hepatitis, rabies, tuberculosis, the HIV/AIDS, measles, typhoid, meningitis and viral haemorrhagic fevers occur. These do occur sometimes with more serious outbreaks. To counter this, travellers are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before they travel to Uganda. While in the country, they should boil all their drinking water or they should drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked foods. Since they don't have some of the expensive vaccines for everybody, they advise that people should not swim in fresh waters. This is because they want to avoid people's exposure to some water-borne diseases like bilharzia (schistosomiasis).
Australia has developed several mechanisms to counter vaccine related health issues. They have introduced the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register which is an immunisation Register and id also a national register that is administered by Medicare Australia. The register records details of vaccinations that were given to children who are under seven years of age and are living in Australia. This register was established in the year 1996 to counter a decline in childhood immunisation levels and to increase the prevention rate of preventable childhood diseases. Any family can get a copy of their child's immunisation details at any time and the details can help them qualify for some payments given by Australian Government to families for assistance.8 The register is important because the health sector automatically sends an immunisation history statement when a child is eighteen months old and five years old. Despite this, a parent may request a copy at any time. The final benefit of the register includes instances where health professionals are able to track immunisation levels in Australia.
Since immunization is a simple, safe and effective process and it is a way of protecting children against different harmful diseases that would otherwise cause serious complications and sometimes drastic death. Immunization at its best will always help the child to stay healthy. In cases when the child has not been immunized or had missed a vaccination, the process makes it easy for anybody to catch up. In Australia, the vaccinations can be given by your doctor or at any immunisation clinic and some hospitals countrywide. The country has it that children who are under seven years of age and who are enrolled in Medicare will be automatically included in the Australian Immunisation Register (National Library of Australia).8 In cases when the child is not enrolled in Medicare, they will be added to the Immunisation Register once their immunisation details are received from their doctor or any other immunisation provider.
The country mostly uses a model as a register which was developed into a tool that is easily used by policy makers of the immunization system. The model provides snapshots of the output and a few scenarios of the counties simulations. 8
It also acts as a register where Australia uses the register for many purposes. The health professionals use the Immunisation Register to observe immunisation coverage levels within the country and to service delivery of vaccines for particular diseases at any place. They also keep the record to help in identifying cases and regions that may be at risk during a particular disease outbreak. The data contained within the register also enables immunisation practitioners and parents to check in a daily basis, the immunisation status of their childe irregardless of where the child was immunised.9 This will therefore form the basis of an optional immunisation history, where statements which informs guardians and parents of their child's recorded immunisation history. The information about a child's immunisation status will help people and families determine eligibility assistance payments from the Australian Government's Child Care Benefit and Maternity Immunisation Allowance. And finally, the immunization register provides information for the delivery of incentive payments including feedback reports to eligible immunisation practitioners. The Immunisation register is updated and should be updated every time a doctor or immunisation provider sends the child's information on vaccinations to the Immunisation Register.10 This Australian Immunization program has the aim of increasing national immunization rates through funding free vaccination programs. It also aims to increase it through administering the Australian Childhood Immunization register and passing the information about immunization to the entire Australian countries and health professionals so as to check, the rise and decline of any vaccine related diseases.
The Australian government requires a vaccination certificate for the yellow fever from travellers who are over one year of age and are entering Australia. This is needed within 6 days of arrival as a result of overnight stay or longer stay in an infected country. They observe the weekly epidemiological record of countries and the diseases that are sprouting. On the contrary, for the case of the yellow fever in Kampala and Uganda as a whole, vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age coming and who are coming from endemic areas. Consequently, malaria risk is predominant due to the P. falciparum. This is evident throughout Uganda region including the main towns of Fort Portal, Jinja, Kampala, Mbale and parts of Kigezi.