Pharmacy refrigerators breakdown as measles outbreak toll hits 96

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Tana River, KENYA: Pharmacy refrigerators in various health centers Tana River county have broken down throwing health officials in limbo amidst an outbreak of the viral measles disease in pastoral areas of the county.

A spot check by Baraka FM revealed that the refrigerators in dispensaries Bangalore, Bangale, Subukia, Nanighi, Boka, Delta and Galole were not working.

This has, in turn, had an impact on immunization programs against the disease.

So far 96 cases have confirmed in Boka, Bangale, Chifiri and other villages.

However Speaking to Baraka Fm on Wednesday, Mr. Said Bili, the officer in charge of vaccinations in the county confirmed that engineers were working to rectify the problem.

He, however, said that most residents ignore taking their children for measles vaccination which according to him has contributed to the viral spreading of the disease.

5 cases confirmed in Tana River measles outbreak

“Most community members do not seek vaccinations not knowing that vaccination helps the children fight viral diseases. Others do not complete the vaccination dos they disappear once their children get the first vaccinations but they forget measles vaccination is given at the age of 9 months and 18 months” said the officer.

Health records seen by Baraka FM indicate that only 4 of the 96 cases confirmed had been immunized against the disease.

It is not yet known how the outbreak spread so fast, however health officials have blamed it on the movement of pastoralists from the Tana North to the Tana delta zones.

The affected areas in the Tana River and Tana North sub-counties are and other areas in the pastoral zones.

The outbreak has prompted the department to change its schedule of vaccines delivery from the age 9 months to 6 months onwards in order to curb the outbreak.

The department has also started engaging in outreaches to those who have no easy access to the health facility in the hinterland areas.

On the other hand, the officer urged adult residents to increasingly eat foods rich in Vitamin A so as to improve their immunity.

In preventing more spread, the officer said that their department was working closely with administrative grassroots units in order to vaccinate pastoralists moving from one area to another.

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