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Turkana County targets 85 percent vaccine uptake

Turkana County targets 85 percent vaccine uptake


Thursday April 25, 2024

KNA by Peter Gitonga

Turkana County Executive for Health and Sanitation, Dr Francis Mariao has said the county government and partners are committed to increasing the uptake of vaccines in the county from the current 69 percent to 85 percent in a bid to bridge the gap with the national average which stands at 80%.

He said partners and the Turkana County Government have developed a strategic plan geared towards increasing the uptake of vaccines to a target of 85% for the current year.

Dr Mariao was speaking during the commemoration of the World Immunisation Week in Kanamkemer Sub-County Hospital which began on April 24 and ends on April 30, 2024.

The CECM said, “while commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, the plans to increase the vaccines uptake in Turkana are and not limited to; integrated surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases banking on one health approach (locally known as Kimormor), considering the health of both humans, animals and the environment. “

He added there is a deliberate effort to improve on the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine coverage across the County.

However, CECM Mariao noted that despite schools being closed, his team would continue focus on those due for HPV2, targeting youth centres.

He said there is a plan targeting immunisation of children who have defaulted on routine childhood vaccines using the January-March 2024 data, riding on the Community Health Services and any other ongoing outreaches.

This targeted immunisation activities, County Executive said will be done through special clinics (MOPC, CCC, renal, cancer) for at-risk populations such as PCV for cancer and dialysis patients, HPV for 10–14-year-old at Comprehensive Care Clinic, and C-19 for diabetic patients.

While recognising the support of the partners in the event, Dr Mariao called on partners and other stakeholders in the health sector working group to jointly address the existing gaps and fully strengthen the immunisation Programme.During the commemoration, a total number of 35 doses were administered comprising of; BCG (4), OPV (3), DPT (3), PCV (3), Y/F (6), MRI (6), MRII (8), TD (2) and FIC (5).

In the same breath, the UNICEF’s Health Officer, Lodwar Zonal Office, Stella Kogo said UNICEF has worked closely with the government to improve the cold stain capacity in Turkana County, ensuring the vaccines remain safe and effective from manufacture to administration.

According to Kogo, UNICEF has supported government in vaccine management, including procurement, distribution, and stock management.

She also called on other partners and government agencies stating, “Let’s reaffirm our commitment to equitable access to vaccines for all children in Turkana County, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic background”.

In so doing, the Health Officer said, it is possible to create a world, where no child is left behind and where vaccines are not just a privilege, but a fundamental right.

Courtesy; KNA

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