Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign kicks-off in Kilifi, Tana River

Health CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi in Kajiado where she launched the Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign./COURTESY

If you are in Kilifi or Tana River and have a child between 9 months and 59 months old then ensure they get vaccinated in the ongoing Measles Rubella campaign being carried out by the Ministry of Health.

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 and Tana River and Kilifi are among them.

The 10 days campaign which will run up to 5th July targets to reach approximately 3.5 million children of ages 9 – 59 Months will cost sh.800 million, with the vaccines being 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 Health CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi.

The vaccination will be offered through 5,061 vaccination posts that will be set-up in public places i.e markets, schools, churches, mosques and public health facilities within the 22 counties. Mobile vaccination teams will also be available to carry out the campaign within the arid and semi-arid areas.

“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,” said MoH.

Counties identified as high risk areas are Kilifi, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Baringo, West Pokot, Turkana, Tanariver, TransNzoia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Busia, Homabay, Migori, Kisii, Kajiado, Nairobi, Bomet, Bungoma, Kakamega, Narok and Vihiga.

This year alone, the country has witnessed Measles outbreak in Tana River, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, West Pokot among others.

Health Director General Dr. Patrick Amoth assured parents of the safety of the vaccine and encouraged them to take their children for the immunizatio.

“The vaccine to be used in this campaign is the same one we use during the routine immunization, so you do not have to worry because it is safe,” said Amoth.

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 such as 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.