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Measles-Rubella vaccination starts Friday

NAIROBI, Kenya June 23 – The government has set aside Sh800 million for the Measles Rubella vaccination campaign that kicks off Friday for ten days.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said the exercise to be launched in Kajiado county will target 3.5 million children immunised against the disease across 22 targeted counties classified as high risk zones.

The free routine immunization programme targets children aged 9 -59 months.

“Immunization being the most cost-effective public health intervention should be embraced dearly by all of us. I appeal to my fellow leaders to mobilize resources to support immunization services at all levels and also encourage their communities to go for vaccination,” she told a media briefing Wednesday.

The targeted counties include: Kilifi, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Baringo, West Pokot, Turkana, Tanariver, TransNzoia, Elgeyo marakwet, Busia, Homabay, Migori, Kisii, Kajiado, Nairobi, Bomet, Bungoma, Kakamega, Narok and Vihiga.

Mwangangi noted that 16,000 health care workers will aid in the execution of the exercise “through 5,061 vaccination posts that will be set up in public places including markets, schools, churches, mosques and other social places and mobile vaccination teams in addition to al public health facilities within the 22 counties”.

“The government as the custodian of Health Services, including immunization remains committed to meeting its disease elimination targets. I appeal to all parents and caregivers with children ages 9 months to 59 months to take them for immunization,” she said.

With 2.1 million children being susceptible to the highly infectious disease, Director General for Health Dr. Patrick Amoth stressed that the vaccine which will be administered to the children is safe and asked parents to comply.

“And so, it is up to us to be able to act individually, collectively and wholesomely to be able to avert that crisis,” he said.

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According to the Kenya National Vaccines and Immunization Program, 95 percent population immunity is not achievable with only the first dose even at very high vaccination coverage and only 85 percent of children vaccinated against measles develop immunity from the first dose.

Since 2019, Kenya has so far recorded 786 cases of measles and two deaths.

Director of Public Health Francis Kuria urged parents to present their children in large numbers for the vaccination exercise noting that the campaign’s success is heavily dependent on the parents and guardians’ compliance.

“Let us get many children vaccinated as many as possible,” he appealed.

Kenya’s World Health Organization (WHO) representative Dr. Rudi Eggers stressed that no child should suffer measles or die from measles while there is an effective vaccine.

“Vaccination against measles will protect children from this debilitating disease, which is one of the leading causes of death among children less than five years old. Therefore, vaccination against measles will further reduce measles mortality and contribute significantly to sustainable development goals SDG3 and SDG4,” he said.

Measles is a highly contagious, a serious disease caused by a virus and causes severe complications which ranges from – severe diarrhoea, severe pneumonia, ear infections, brain damage and blindness.

Like measles, Rubella is also a highly infectious viral disease that can cause serious health complications to newborns such as birth defects including heart problems, loss of hearing and eyesight and brain damage.

The disease remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.

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According to WHO, approximately 134, 200 people died from measles in 2015 – mostly children under the age of 5.


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