30% of Meru kids not immunised

In Summary

• Parents urged not to hide behind religion to keep their children from being immunised.

• Nyeri men praised for taking their children for immunisation.

A child is immunised.
A child is immunised.

Three out of 10 children under the age of one-and-a-half years are at risk of dying from preventable diseases in Meru, an immunisation officer has said.

Seventy percent of children in the same age bracket have been immunised, said Robbert Kinoti, the county government's immunisation records officer.

He was speaking at the ACK Guest House in Nyeri town after a two-day workshop for health officers and journalists from Meru, Isiolo and Laikipia counties.
The three counties have recorded a decline in immunisation. The factors contributing to this include lack of awareness by some parents, lack of resources to reach residents in far-flung areas and lack of health facilities closer to the people.
Kinoti appealed to the media to help educate parents on the need to have their children immunised against killer diseases such as polio, measles and hepatitis B.





The officer said health providers are concerned that media concentrates on negative stories, making it difficult for them to collaborate with journalists to fight myths and misconceptions about immunisation.

Kinoti said health providers face enormous challenges such as rough interior roads, lack of resources for outreach, poor documentation of vaccinated children leading to loss of data, inefficient defaulter tracking mechanisms, lack of awareness on immunisation, unsupportive county administrations and drought.

ACK Mt Kenya East's Bishop Joseph Kagunda urged parents not to hide behind religion to keep their children from getting immunised.  

He said universal healthcare will not be fully realised if there are no concerted efforts by the national and county governments to create awareness and allocate resources.

Kagunda said the provision of healthcare has been hampered by myths and misinformation, exposing children and Kenyans to deadly diseases.

The bishop said the country should invest heavily in the provision of health services and prevention of deadly diseases.

Pheobe Njeru, a nurse at Nyeri Town Health Centre's Maternal Child Health Immunisation Services Department, told journalists that Nyeri county always surpasses its immunisation targets due to public awareness and follow-ups with new mothers.

She praised Nyeri men for taking their children for immunisation.

“The immunisation rate is higher compared to the target. We follow up on defaulter patients and encourage them to visit clinics. Health volunteers do exemplary work in sensitising patients,” Njeru said.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya