Turkana prepared to curb cases of yellow fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day.

In Summary
  • Turkana County Chief Officer for Medical Services Gilchrist Lokoel says they had two suspected cases in April 2022 and upon sending samples to KEMRI, they turned out negative.
  • In 2022, the National government through the Ministry of Health listed Turkana as counties with a possible risk of yellow fever transmission
Health worker administering routine immunization program of under five years in Kerio, Turkana Central
Health worker administering routine immunization program of under five years in Kerio, Turkana Central
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

Turkana County Government in partnership with the Ministry of Health is prepared to curb cases of yellow fever.

In 2022, the National government through the Ministry of Health listed Turkana as counties with a possible risk of yellow fever transmission

Turkana County Chief Officer for Medical Services Gilchrist Lokoel says they had two suspected cases in April 2022 and upon sending samples to KEMRI, they turned out negative.

Lokoel said at the moment, they haven’t encountered any case of yellow fever despite being listed as a county with a possible risk of transmission.

He said Turkana is at risk of possible yellow fever transmission because people travel from Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan where such cases occur.

Yellow fever is a viral disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day.

The most common symptoms are fever, muscle pain with headache, loss of appetite, and feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting).

A small proportion of people who become infected can become severely unwell and die.

Lokoel says a yellow fever vaccine is available to protect people against yellow fever. 

He said the vaccination is recommended if you are visiting areas where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission and it’s available at designated centres such as exit points at the border.

“We are prepared to curb yellow fever. The vaccine is required from all Kenyans travelling abroad as per the International Health Regulations of 2005. We also do active vaccination of all children under one year and of all travellers,” he said.

“We have active surveillance across all health facilities where they make reports touching on suspected cases of yellow fever. We do vector control the same measures used to control malaria help in the control of yellow fever.” 

He added that they sensitise healthcare workers, Community Health Promoters and Public members for awareness of the yellow fever disease.

The Centre for Behaviour Change and Communication (CBCC) through a partnership with UNICEF Kenya supports uptake of vaccination from childhood to adulthood through a multimedia campaign on the Digiredio Social and Behaviour Change platform, consisting of community and regional radio stations.

Philip Kinyota, Associate Director for Social Behavior Change and Communications at CBCC said they working together with the Ministry of Health National Vaccine and Immunization Programme to target both children and adolescents as part of an integrated routine immunization system for the promotion of universal health coverage.

“Uptake of various vaccines are however low due to various factors: parental fears on the safety of the vaccine, personal, cultural, and religious reasons and Parental misinformation and disinformation,” Kinyota says.

He says various studies have indicated several gaps associated with immunization including Children who are not immunized at all since birth and those who only get the first dose and miss the third and fourth dose.

He added hesitancy among adolescents, especially towards C-19 and HPV vaccinations and negative attitudes and perceptions on immunization and vaccination by men.

He said to increase immunization and vaccine uptake, the CBCC and NVIP have positioned caregivers and young people as social and peer influencers.  

He said the campaign has been targeting caregivers and teenagers in 31 counties including Elgeyo Marakwet, Lamu Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Kitui, Machakos, Nyandarua and Nyeri among others.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star