NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – Kenya has recorded the fastest reduction rates of child mortality in the region for the past decade, according to Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
Macharia explained that this milestone has been achieved through the growth in the immunisation coverage for children under the age of five.
“The proportion of children that have been immunised against communicable diseases has risen from 64 percent to 82 percent,” he said.
He however cautioned that although immunisation coverage has grown, County Governments need to work at promoting further coverage.
Speaking at the launch of the National Immunisation Policy on Wednesday, the Health Secretary announced that plans were underway to roll out new vaccines.
“In Kenya the Ministry of Health established the expanded programme for immunisation to boost the administering of vaccines in the country. We are surging forward to introduce the rotavirus vaccine in July this year to fight diarrhoea which contributes to child mortality,” he observed.
He further applauded development partners that have been working with the ministry to create mobile immunisation campaigns for their support.
The National Immunisation Policy summarises immunological and epidemiological information on target vaccine preventable diseases of public health.
The policy provides technical reference and guidelines in the management of immunisation services delivery at all levels.
In the policy, counties are urged to ensure daily immunisation services provision in health facilities and augment these with outreach services amongst disadvantaged populations.
“Promote the uptake of vaccination services through the community strategy and ensure that counties and sub-counties achieve and maintain a minimum coverage of 80 percent of fully immunised children,” it read.
It further advised county governments acquire adequate vaccine and logistics including cold chain equipment.
Last November, the government declared the outbreak of polio in Kenya a public health emergency.
The Cabinet then directed the Ministry of Health to fast-track the ongoing immunisation exercise and ensure the entire country is covered.
Health workers have been going door to door in all parts of the country to immunise all children under the ages of five years.
The vaccination campaign which ended in January targeted close to 15.3 million children.