The ministry of health on Thursday, December 8 launched a measles-rubella vaccination campaign in the wake of an outbreak reported across six counties.
The 10-day campaign, which will be conducted across seven counties of Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa, Nairobi, Turkana, Mandera and West Pokot, targets to vaccinate 1.2 million children aged between nine to 59 months.
Speaking in Garissa County during the launch of the campaign, Principal Secretary of the State Department for medical services engineer Peter Tum who was representing Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, urged the public, parents and guardians to ensure their children receive an additional dose of Measles-Rubella vaccine during the campaign so that they are protected against the disease and its serious effects.
“Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which affects mostly children and those below five years who are the most at risk of severe disease or even death. The vaccine will protect against Rubella disease which resembles measles,” said Tum.
He said the vaccine will be delivered through in-fixed posts and temporary-fixed outreach posts supported by UNHCR, Gavi and UNICEF adding that the government was determined to improve mother and child conditions.
He observed that the number of children who die young had reduced due to immunization and improved health services.
“The Ministry of Health, in line with the Afra Bora Mashinani initiative, is keen to ensure that primary health care services reach those who need them in good time. The Ministry is committed to supporting devolution and collaborating with counties to make this a reality.”
Tum urged families and communities, county governments, partners and all stakeholders to adhere to public health measures including washing hands, going for vaccination and maintaining proper sanitation to mitigate the spread of diseases.
“Cholera outbreak has also affected ten (10) counties: Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Uasin-Gishu, Kajiado, Murang’a, Machakos, Garissa, Meru and Nyeri. I take this opportunity to remind us of the measures that we need to put in place including hand washing, proper sanitation and to encourage anyone with persistent diarrhoea to visit the nearest health facility.”
UNICEF Country Representative Anselme Motcho said measles which is one of the worst contagious diseases remain a threat with the risk has increased significantly in the wake of Covid-19 disease and conflicts that have disrupted routine vaccination even as he pledged his organization’s commitment to supporting the Kenyan government delivers its health agenda.
Garissa governor Nathif Jama said his administration remains committed to improving health outcomes in the county.
The launch of the campaign follows reported measles outbreaks in the counties of Garissa, Mandera, Marsabit, Nairobi, Turkana and Wajir.
Garissa Regional Vaccine Depot, which was destroyed by a fire in 2017, was handed over to the ministry of health following its refurbishment. The Depot serves Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties.