KAMPALA —The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces’ Air Force UPDF has on October 20, 2019 airlifted vaccines from Entebbe to five destinations across the country in support of the Ministry of Health’s national immunization drive against measles and rubella.
UPDF Helicopters delivered vaccines to Gulu, Kiruhura, Soroti, Mbarara and Kabale Districts following an emergency request by the Ministry of Health to the UPDF for a quick delivery to arrest a possible drug shortage. The choppers were able to deliver the vaccines to the destinations in less than two hours.
The Commander Air Forces, Lt Gen Charles Lutaaya said the UPDF is always ready to respond with its capabilities in support of civil authorities for the good of the nation.
“We always respond at the shortest notice. We have standby assets for such eventualities. We are glad to offer any form of support when called upon,” said Lt Gen Lutaaya, adding that Air Force has on many occasions supported the civil authorities and government initiatives.
The UPDF has also used its nationwide ground network to support the Ministry of Health’s ongoing nationwide vaccination drive.
The UPDF Director Public Health , Col. Dr. Ambrose Oiko said every UPDF health facility has contributed personnel towards the vaccination campaign.
“We are as well part of the Ministry of health and so we participate in all its activities. They trained our personnel to beef up manpower for the conduct of this important exercise,” said Dr. Oiko, adding that all UPDF vaccinators are currently participating in the exercise in all military health centres and others are deployed to support health units near their duty stations.
The UPDF Commander Land Forces Lt Gen Peter Elwelu said the UPDF is a suitable institution to partner with in any government program because it has several capabilities and deploys in all parts of the country, including the hard to reach areas such as parts of Karamoja. He gave an example of UPDF Acholi Pii Health Center IV in Pader that serves a wide land area and is as such an important point in all government health programs in the area.
He said all UPDF commanders have been at the forefront in mobilizing the soldiers’ families and the neighboring communities to embrace the nationwide immunization program.
“A UPDF commander is the first health worker of his unit. It is their command responsibility to fully support such important government initiatives and as such soldiers’ families and nearby communities have always fully benefited from the programs,” he said.
The UPDF among its functions is mandated to offer support to civil authorities. Members of the Force also participate and benefit from all national government programs.