Kenya’s Ministry of health in partnership with UNICEF and WHO has launched a nationwide vaccination campaign against measles-rubella today with the ministry urging parents to ensure that kids between 9 months and 14 years are immunized.
The ministry has also said that the vaccination is safe and that all the volunteers have been trained, in the latest campaign targeting 19 million children across the country.
This is after several cases of children dying after being vaccinated have been reported in the past.
Unlike with the polio vaccine, which is done on door to door, the measles-rubella vaccine will only be administered in public health facilities as well as identified churches and schools in the country., since the vaccines need to be stored under certain conditions.
Speaking during a media briefing on the campaign on Thursday, Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri said the exercise will seek to ensure maternal child survival as well as improve immunization coverage from the current 80% to 95% in the country.
“This 2016 campaign serves as a catch up campaign to capture children unimmunized from measles disease either due to reasons of vaccine efficiency levels or due lack of being routinely vaccinated,” said Muraguri.
KENYA AT RISK OF A MEASLES OUTBREAK
In June last year, a World Health Organization (WHO) technical committee on measles in Africa named Kenya among a number of African countries at risk of a measles outbreak because parents are not immunizing their children.
“The campaign also seeks to help the country progress towards global measles and rubella control and elimination goals,” cited Muraguri.
Unlike in the past where children would only get one measles vaccine at 9 months, WHO recommended a second dose of Measles-Containing Vaccine (MCV2) at 18 months two years ago but there has been poor response from Kenyan parents and care givers.