• Despite the efforts to ensure the Kenyan population is vaccinated against the virus, factors such as the drought in parts of the country and food insecurity, conflict continues to impact vaccine uptake negatively
• The three-day conference is expected to commemorate the experience of Covid-19 and take stock of best practices and lessons
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called for a multi-sectoral action and inclusive approach to health promotion.
The First Lady has noted that central to the effort should be ensuring that the most vulnerable communities especially women and children are protected adding that even before the Covid-19 pandemic inequalities of access have existed.
“Pandemics such as Covid-19 can impede our efforts towards building a secure health system that brings our country closer to achieving universal health coverage,” she said.
“Whereas we have made remarkable success in the control of the spread of Covid-19 we are yet to achieve our vaccination targets. The efficacy of the Covid-19 has determined that vaccines increase our protection from the virus. We are not safe unless we are all vaccinated.”
This comes even as experts continued to express concern over the low uptake of Covid-19 vaccines in the country, a situation that has been partly blamed on the easing of containment measures by the Health Ministry.
Of greater concern is that despite the efforts to ensure the Kenyan population is vaccinated against the virus, factors such as the drought in parts of the country and food insecurity, conflict continues to impact vaccine uptake negatively.
“Today we see encouraging signs of declining cases of Covid-19 globally but we cannot forget the fragility of our health system and the need to increase our resilience so that we can protect ourselves from potential disruptions that are still a reality,” First Lady said.
She spoke on Tuesday during the official opening of the first International Conference on Commemoration of Covid-19 at Kenyatta University.
The three-day conference is expected to commemorate the experience of Covid-19, take stock of best practices and lessons learned for the prevention of future pandemics, and promote sharing and implementation of best practices.
Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary-General Asha Mohammed has called for an integrated approach that allows stakeholders to respond to emergencies while conducting vaccination drives.
According to Mohammed, the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people's health and livelihoods cannot be overstated.
“The pandemic has tested our resilience at a time when most of our communities are already stressed by climate change, economic slowdown, and in particular today's drought which has left nearly 3.5 million people across the country food insecure,” Aisha said.
Unicef Representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman noted that local communities play a key role in preventing and controlling disease outbreaks, including Covid-19 since they are the ones who can explain the barriers and take action to increase demand for health services.
“However, despite these successes, we have recently seen a slow-down in the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines. The risk perception has gone down,” Zaman said.
The official noted that with the collective experience and knowledge of experts and practitioners in the field there is a need to keep reminding the public that we are not yet out of the woods.