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At least 300,000 children behind jabs schedule


Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Thousands of Kenyan children are lagging behind vaccination schedules following an acute shortage of jabs.

The Ministry of Health said on Monday that nearly 300,000 children, which is about 18 percent of targeted infants, have missed vaccination in recent weeks.

The ministry said it was in a rush to deliver vaccines to several areas across the country in a bid to mitigate effects of the shortages attributed to supply chain problems and delayed payments.

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha assured that the situation was under control despite the missed vaccination schedules.

"The situation is under control now, but we're working hard to get all these children vaccinated," said Nakhumicha.

Nakhumicha said the ministry was collaborating with county governments to track down parents and guardians whose children missed their shots.

She urged the parents and guardians to take their children to the nearest health facility to receive the essential vaccinations.

The shortage caused significant disruption, the Health CS said.

"It's unfortunate. There were delays in disbursing funds to Gavi, the Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and UNICEF, who are key suppliers of these vaccines," Nakhumicha said.

She went on to say, "Part of the disbursement was made last week and we're pushing for accelerated procurement to ensure a steady supply moving forward."

Nakhumicha said that the government is taking steps to ensure better access to healthcare in the future.

"Starting in July, Kenyans will have the opportunity to register for the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF), making medical care more affordable," said Nakhumicha.

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