In Uganda, there is a massive shortage of inoculations against the deadly Ebola virus, particularly for women. That’s a particularly serious situation for women, because of different access to health services in their countries. Uganda’s population is predominantly rural, where children are born and families are raised. Which means that women spend the majority of their time raising children, and getting them inoculated against deadly diseases can be a hardship for the entire family, who needs to live in close proximity to a health facility.
Despite this, advocacy for more government funding to expand vaccinations against dangerous diseases is a challenging sell. Uganda is one of the most prosperous African countries in terms of economic growth, yet its government spends an overall budget of only $330 million per year on health. The vast majority of that total goes to service other social needs like housing and sanitation.
In other countries, governments have paid women to vaccinate their children. In Uganda, that has not been an option. Women, because of their gender and the limited access to health services in their communities, shoulder more responsibility for ensuring that the nation’s children are adequately immunized. When vaccination doesn’t happen, it’s the women who bear the brunt of the deaths, in the form of rising rates of unintended pregnancy, malnutrition, and breast and cervical cancer.