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Church stops nurses from vaccinating children against measles in Migori

Reproductive Health - By John Otieno

There was drama in Rongo, Migori County after members of a church barred medical officers from vaccination their children against measles.

Health officers could not vaccinate a section of pupils at Opapo primary school who are followers of Haleluya church.

The Church is a splinter group of Legio-Maria which has its headquarters at Opapo. A follow up by The Standard on the ongoing nationwide measles –Rubella vaccine set to end tomorrow has revealed that poor sensitization has been a major bane to the exercise.

The school head teacher, Dickson Osore declined to give details on the incident.

"I am between a rock and hard place because this is a government exercise and this is a public school. But these pupils are under my care and I am aware that there church does not allow them get injection," he said.

A teacher at the school who sought anonymity said that only younger pupils from the sect were immunized while the older ones refused and reported to their parents.

"One of the women from the Haleluhya headquarters came to school and scolded the teachers for allowing the young ones to be immunized," she said.

The Standard visited the church where the sect leader identified as "Baba" said he had not been informed of the exercise.

"Those children are under my care since they live inside the church compound, I was not informed of the ongoing vaccination exercise," he said but also admitted that their church doctrines do not encourage scientific medicine.

"Our children are prayed for and prayers guard them against diseases," he added.

In Suna East Sub-County, health workers raised concerns that parents were refusing to allow their children be vaccinated claiming they were unaware of the exercise.

One parent, Roseline Akeyo said she was not aware of the exercise and could not allow her children get immunized.

Migori Chief Health officer, Dalmas Oyugi said it was normal for others to refuse immunization for various reasons including religious.

"We did sensitization over the exercise at the County level using public address systems, public Barazas and even through health officers," he said.

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