Concern over children who missed vaccinations

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), is alarmed by the number of new born babies who during their birth, missed immunization as a result of the five months nurses strike that had hit public facilities in the country.

The Secretary General (SG), Abbass Gullet said most at risk are Arid and semi �Arid regions where pregnant Mothers could not access private health services, terming the lack of immunization as a time bomb to diseases.

Gullet has therefore asked county governors to embark on a catch up programme for vulnerable babies who might have missed normal vaccines for Polio and measles virus vaccine, which may cause some unwanted effects.

The society has established that over half a million newly borne babies who were delivered during the national nurses’ strike did not receive vaccines. This to us is a very serious health concern, which needs attention, said Gullet.

Polio vaccines are used to prevent poliomyelitis while measles vaccines is seldom given as an individual vaccine and is often given in combination with mumps and rubella.

The threat of death by disease isn’t the only medical consequence of skipping vaccinations but an unvaccinated child faces lifelong differences that could potentially put him or her at risk.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can cause fever, coughing and distinctive red-brown spots on the skin.

Gullet however, said though a collaborative effort by the ministry of health and UNICEF has embarked on ‘catch up’ programme for immunization that has already kicked off at Turkana,West Pokot and Garissa, among other Arid and Semi-arid counties.

This program is only targeting a few counties, but it’s a challenge to all county governors to take up the challenge and ensure no newborn babies will miss this essential vaccination exercise, said Gullet.

He made the remarks while addressing stakeholders during the official closure of the Global Fund on HIV conference, bringing together various health actors held at Travellers Beach Hotel, Mombasa on Thursday.

The 16 million USD sponsored global fund was started in September, 2012 and has been implemented by the Kenya Red Cross for a period of six months until 2017, targeting the Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta counties.

He said the second Phase of 70 Million USD will be launched in January which will be implemented in collaboration with Community Health actors in the same counties.

The grant seeks to deliver an HIV free society by contributing to achieving vision 2030 through universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care. The Objective is to reduce the HIV infections by 75 percent and reduce AIDS related motality, Gullet added.

Source: Kenya New s Agency