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State steps up campaign to prevent resurgence of deadly diseases

By VERAH OKEYO AND MERCY KAHENDA | Mon,Mar 29 2021 00:00:00 EAT

 Prevention of children diseases through vaccination.

To bridge the immunisation gaps against deadly diseases, the Ministry of Health has collaborated with churches to champion vaccination campaigns.

The government is seeking to stop resurgence of 11 deadly diseases like measles and polio.

Others are water and food-borne diseases including cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and Viral Heamorrhagic Fevers (CDC lists about 18 of them globally including Ebola, but Kenya has Rift Valley Fever).

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe noted that immunisation gaps were witnessed in March, April and May last year, but the numbers picked up and are now back to normal.

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“We developed guidelines and maintenance of essential services and continued advocacy by counties and religious organisations,” he told The Standard.

The CS said besides the church, others who came in handy in the vaccination campaigns were community health workers, volunteers and lay people who are trusted in the community. In North Pokot for instance, Isaac Nyeris was instrumental in vaccine uptake.

Nyeris, who speaks fluent Pokot, educated expectant mothers on the importance of antenatal and other primary healthcare needs.

Everyday, he endures the scorching sun to talk to households about the need for vaccines during a pandemic.

Interestingly, Nyeris depends on a modest stipend from non-governmental organisations like Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, to educate the community about Kalaazar, a disease spread by sand flies. 

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