Kenyans have been asked to embrace vaccines when recommended by health experts.
Kitui County Expanded Programme on Immunisation Logistician Henry Muinde said there was need for more engagement with stakeholders in advancing the uptake of vaccines.
Such stakeholders include church leaders, the civil society, community leaders, health workers, the media and administration officials.
The medic said that vaccination is a major intervention that has had a major effect on the reduction of mortality and morbidity in children.
Muinde was speaking to journalists recently during a health reporting workshop organised by the County Health and Sanitation department and other partners.
He also officially opened the workshop on behalf of the County Health Director, Dr. Allan Owino.
Muinde said the Kenya Expanded Programme on Immunisation (KEPI) was launched in 1980 to provide immunisation against the six killer diseases among children.
The diseases included poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and measles.
He said pertussis and haemophilus influenzae among other diseases were also common in the past.
“The national government told us that we must achieve some 94 per cent immunisation in the country.
The impact of the programme has seen a tremendous reduction of key vaccine preventable diseases,” he said.
“In 2014-2015, we piloted the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Programme in Kitui County and it was a success.”
He said that they are targeting to immunise a total of 26,800 children in Kitui County.
“We have already immunised some 10,000,” he added.
Muinde said that it was ideal to vaccinate children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ensure that no one of our children is left out,” he said.
He said immunisation is a shared function in the country.
On her part, County Health Promotion Officer, Rael Onyancha, emphasized the importance of health communication.
“Health communication is the study and practice of communicating the promotional health information such as in public health campaigns,” she said.
“It increases public knowledge and awareness of health issues,” Onyancha added.
She said that health communication influences behaviour and attitude towards a health issue.
“It influences perception, beliefs and attitudes,” the medic said.
Onyancha lauded the the media for creating awareness to the community.
Kenya Aids NGOs Consortium (KANCO) official Fredrick Muturi said that they will continue to work with the media to enhance a healthy nation.
Muturi said that KANCO is one of the largest network organisations in Kenya that was established in 1990.
It has more than 1,200 member organisations across Kenya.
With the headquarters in Nairobi, it also has seven regional offices in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kitui, Rongai, Nakuru, Nyeri and Kakamega.
Muturi said the consortium is implementing various grants from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI), Global Fund as PR/SR, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), European Union and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Our activities include research and innovation to have a better society,” Muturi said.
He said that healthcare costs push about 100 million people into poverty every year, globally.
He also said that the Return on Investment (ROI) of the money invested in immunisation programmes in the world is significant.
“Recent research has demonstrated that every one US dollar invested in immunization results in at least 16 US dollars in net,” he said.
Muturi advised women to go for cervical cancer screening at health facilities for the good of their health.
He said cervical cancer is the third largest killer of women globally after breast and lung cancers.
It is treatable when clinically detected early.
County Disease Surveillance Officer, Daniel Mutinda also addressed the participants.