Health Ministry to Embark on Measles Vaccination Campaign

The government will from 16th of May 2016 embark on a massive vaccination campaign targeting 19 million children aged between nine months and 14 years in a bid to protect them against Measles and Rubella.

Health Principal Secretary Dr. Nicholas Muraguri said that the drive had been necessitated by rising incidences of the two diseases.

He explained that the campaign aimed at capturing children who had not been immunized from the Measles disease either due to reasons of vaccine efficiency levels or lack of access to routine vaccination.

He said that Ministry is going to deploy over 42,000 health workers, 24,000 volunteers and more than 20,000 vaccination points across the country because there are a cohort of children who have never been vaccinated.

Dr. Muraguri added that Measles was a highly infectious illness that also had high mortality rates especially among children, such as was recently witnessed in Mandera County where three children died.

About 20 percent of children who are vaccinated against Measles do not develop immunity.

He further explained that there was need to minimize chances of a nationwide epidemic by increasing demand for second dose Measles vaccine at 18 months, as well as scheduling regular Supplementary Immunization Activities.

He further observed that Rubella was highly contagious and that new cases were being reported.

In 2014, the Disease Surveillance and Response Unit investigated 1,570 suspected Measles cases out of which 557 were Rubella positive.

Rubella, also known as German measles, can be transmitted through coughs, sneezes, and has 90 per cent chance of child death or miscarriage if a woman is infected before or within the first three months of pregnancy.

The excercise will end on 24th of May 2016