Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi today launched the National Measles Rubella vaccination campaign which took place in the County of Kajiado.
The campaign targets to reach approximately 3.5 million children of ages 9 – 59 Months over this period and will cost Kshs. 800 million. The vaccines will be offered free of charge.
“I appeal to all of you, parents & caregivers with children aged between 9 months to 59 months to take them for immunization,” said Dr. Mwangangi.
The Ministry of Health and County Governments with the support of partner agencies will mobilize more than 16,000 health-workers, to offer the Measles-Rubella through 5,061 vaccination posts that will be set up in public places.This includes Markets, Schools, Churches, Mosques among other social places and mobile vaccination teams, in addition to ALL public health facilities within the 22 counties.
A risk assessment conducted in the country with the support of the WHO identified 22 counties as being at very high risk for measles outbreaks. These includes: Kilifi, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Baringo, West Pokot, Turkana,
Tanariver, TransNzoia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Busia, Homabay, Migori, Kisii, Kajiado, Nairobi, Bomet, Bungoma, Kakamega, Narok and Vihiga.
The CAS said due to the decline in childhood immunization coverage, the country remain at constant threat of measles outbreaks as has been witnessed over the last one year. “This year alone, we have witnessed outbreaks in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, West Pokot & Tana River among others,” she said.
Only 1 in 5 children are vaccinated with at least one dose of measles rubella vaccine. The unprecedented increase in the number of unvaccinated children, accumulation of susceptible children to more than 2.1 million and the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic has aided outbreaks.
Measles and Rubella are highly infectious and serious diseases caused by viruses, for which human beings are the only reservoir.
Measles is the third most common cause of deaths among children from vaccine preventable diseases. Deaths are mainly due to complications- severe diarrhea, pneumonia, ear infections (Otitis – media) with sometimes presence of pus from the ears, brain damage and Blindness.
Rubella like Measles is a highly infectious viral disease that can cause serious health complications to newborns, such as birth defects, heart problems, loss of hearing and eyesight, as well as brain damage.