The president of the National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED), Joseph Kabuleta has said the new Public Health (Amendment) Act, 2022 infringes on the rights of Ugandans.
The new law which was assented to on 8th February by President Yoweri Museveni gives the government through the Ministry of Health the authority to punish violators such as parents who fail to vaccinate their children and, or anyone who fails to report an outbreak of “unusual” diseases and disclose the whereabouts of contacts.
The new law lays emphasis on the prevention and management of infectious diseases and epidemics – a central theme of public health intervention.
Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Kampala on Monday, Kabuleta said using the law to forcefully inoculate people especially the young ones is dangerous since most times such vaccinations have side effects and it would be wise for people to decide for themselves whether to take on the exercise or not.
He says the Ministry of Health may also use the law to fulfill their personal goals.
“The Public Health Act introduced some incredibly stiff fines for people against certain things for instance violating epidemic control measures which include quarantines and curfews, the fine goes upto paying Shs3m,” Kabuleta noted.
He also called upon Ugandans to rally behind NEED to challenge the new law which he says its not in their interest.
“These people are still having the COVID-19 hangover where they had the most power in ther lives and now they want to replicate it through some means. “If the government is allowed to break the law because of an emergency, they’ll create an emergency so that they break the law.”
However, according to the Ministry of Health Spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona, Ugandans including Mr. Kabuleta should be rest assured that the new law was brought in good faith and its meant to serve all citizens.
Meanwhile, under the new law fines imposed for the different offences range from hundreds of thousands to millions of shillings, with the highest individual level grossing Shs4m, while institutional offenders will pay up to Shs50m.
The law, under the section on fighting malaria through the prevention and destruction of mosquitos, imposes Shs5m on any person convicted for keeping open a tank or water storage vessel where the disease-causing insects breed.
The Public Health (Amendment) Act, 2022, also spells doomsday for vaccine skeptics and prescribes an Shs1m penalty or a half-a-year jail term for anyone convicted of spreading misleading statements or information regarding the use of any vaccine.
Parents and guardians will be required to avail of vaccination certificates as a precondition for their children to be admitted to daycare, pre-primary or primary school, and the school is obliged to keep a copy of the certificate.
Non-compliance attracts Shs1m fine, or three-month times in prison, or both. The law requires a parent/guardian to keep a vaccination certificate for at least 15 years.
To ensure no one dodges inoculation, the law provides that a person ineligible to be vaccinated for health or any other reason will have to obtain an exemption certificate issued by a vaccinator.
The Public Health (Amendment) Act, 2022, also spells doomsday for vaccine skeptics and prescribes Shs1m penalty or a half-a-year jail term for anyone convicted for spreading misleading statements or information regarding use of any vaccine.