IMMUNISATION

Kwale at risk of measles outbreak, warns official

Kwale listed among the 22 counties likely to experience a measles 'explosion'

In Summary
  • The majority of children younger than two years have not yet been fully vaccinated.
  • Many had their first nine months measles doses but parents are reluctant to take children for their second doses.

 

Msambweni sub-county hospital public health officer Fatuma Bakari speaks to the public at Ukunda show ground in Kwale county.
CONCERNED: Msambweni sub-county hospital public health officer Fatuma Bakari speaks to the public at Ukunda show ground in Kwale county.
Image: SHABAN OMAR

A measles outbreak is looming in Kwale, a county health official has warned.

According to Msambweni sub-county hospital public health officer Fatuma Bakari, in 2021, Kwale was listed among the 22 counties that are likely to experience a measles explosion.

This is because a majority of the children below two years in the region have not been fully vaccinated.

"A big number of our children aged one-and-half years have not received their full measles doses," she said.

Bakari spoke during the marking of 16 days of activism against gender based violence in Ukunda.

She said many children had their first nine months measles doses but parents are reluctant to take them for their second doses.

Bakari said the situation is alarming because the children's immunity against the disease is still weak.

She said with incomplete doses they are more vulnerable to infections and only  a few cases of measles had already been reported in the region.

She, however, said the cases can't be termed as alarming because the figures are very minimal.

"A few of them have been confirmed but we cannot say it is an outbreak because they are very minimal. There is a certain number when reached then it can be confirmed as an outbreak but we are not yet there," she said.

She said the county had previously conquered the disease but the re-emergence is a worrying trend.

She urged parents to take children for measles and polio vaccinations to keep them out of the risk bracket.

"We are asking residents, to bring children for immunization. We have fought these diseases for long, we can't drop our guard now," she said.

Meanwhile, the county has launched a massive campaigns to create awareness and the importance of immunization.

Bakari said the county health department and in partnership with the community health volunteers are reaching out to the community to identify the children who have not been vaccinated.

They are concentrating on the households that have children below five years to ensure they are fully immunized against the diseases.

"The officers are collecting clinic books and bringing them to hospital for check-ups after that we will know the number of children who missed the doses for proper action to be taken," she said.

At the same time, she urged the locals to take their daughters aged between 14 and 10 years to the nearby health facilities for HPV vaccines to protect them against cervical cancers.