The world’s first malaria vaccine has been initiated in 5 sub-counties in Kisumu including Kisumu East, Kisumu West, Kisumu Central Muhoroni and Seme sub-counties.
Kenya added the malaria vaccine to its routine immunization schedule for babies, becoming the third African country to roll out the vaccine following the malaria disease burden that threatens children across the country targeting about 120 000 children per year and 360000 children across the continent.
Kisumu is one of the 8 selected introduction Counties in Kenya, others are Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya, Busia, Bungoma, Vihiga and Kakamega counties. Within the eight counties, some sub-counties have introduced the vaccine into immunization schedules while others are set to introduce the vaccine later.
The county health department announced that the 3-year malaria vaccine implementation program that targets children aged between 6 months to 2 years, kicked off on the 17th September 2019 in all public health facilities within the 5 Sub Counties, living out 2 Sub Counties, Nyando and Nyakach.
Speaking during the county stakeholder’s engagement forum for malaria vaccine (MVIP) and HPV Vaccine implementation program on Thursday this week, Mr. Chris Odero Researcher on MVIP PATH Kenya clarified that the 2 Sub Counties were randomly left out after conducting a computer-based random selection. However, the selected Sub counties for implementation will inform action towards implementation of the malaria Vaccine in the remaining Sub Counties.
Other criteria used was the malaria disease burden, immunization coverage as well as functionality of the malaria interventions.
The county malaria coordinator, Lilyana Dayo emphasized that the vaccine will be administered to children through routine immunization and that the vaccine will be provided alongside other vaccines. Lilyana Dayo reaffirmed that the vaccine is safe adding that it offers an additional form of protection against malaria when used with other interventions.
The vaccine is provided in 4 dosage routine with the first dose administered at 6 months, the second dose at 7 months, the third dose at 9 months and the last dose at 24 months. However, children who have exceeded 6months but below one year can be administered with the first dose following the dosing schedule.
The MVIP takes advantage of other immunization programs as a patient will be offered with a sticker to record scheduled dosage.
According to Jeremiah Ongwara of County health promotion, the department have put in place rigorous messages and media information campaign to ensure that the public is sensitized on the new vaccine. Mr. Ongwara dismissed negative assertions that are meant to deter the implementation of the vaccine.
The forum also presented the mass roll-out of girls aged 10 to 13 years against cervical cancer-causing Human Papilloma Virus through the HPV Vaccine set for October this year. Stakeholders present were urged to share the information with residents on the benefits and importance of the vaccines.
By Matilda Atieno