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The Kenya Forum | Kenya Measles Vaccination Programme Against “Imminent Threat” - The Kenya Forum

December 27, 2022

Summary

Most cases are mild in character but severe cases can result in swelling of the brain (encephalitis), blindness and pneumonia.

More by Correspondent

Kenya Measles Vaccination Programme Against “Imminent Threat”

Kenya Measles Vaccination Programme Against “Imminent Threat”

Photo courtesy UNICEF

Kenya’s Ministry of Health has rolled out a vaccination programme across seven counties following growing concern at the increase in cases of measles.

The ten-day campaign to vaccinate children against measles and rubella was conducted in the counties of Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa, Nairobi, Turkana, Mandera and West Pokot, and targeted 1.2 million children aged between nine months and five years old.

Measles is a viral respiratory illness spread from person to person by airborne transmission. One sign of infection is the appearance off a rash and a fever. Most cases are mild in character but severe cases can result in swelling of the brain (encephalitis), blindness and pneumonia.

128,000 Measles’ Deaths Each Year

The World Health Oraganisation (WHO) estimates that there are some nine million cases of measles worldwide each year resulting in 128,000 deaths.
The two-dose vaccine against measles provides a very high and lasting protection (about 99 percent) against infection.

Parents Urged To Get Children Vaccinated

Speaking in Garissa County during the launch of the campaign, Principal Secretary, State Department for Medical Services engineer Peter Tum, urged the public, parents and guardians to ensure their children receive 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.”

WHO: Measles an “Imminent Threat”

In November the WHO declared measles to be an “imminent threat in every region of the world”.

The WHO noted that 40 million children worldwide had missed had missed at least one measles vaccine dose in 2021.

The fall in the number of children receiving the measles/rubella vaccine has been attributed in part to the consequences of the Covid pandemic as access to routine healthcare declined resulting in a lower uptake of immunisations.

Increased cases of measles have also recently been reported in South Africa in the provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and Gauteng.

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