With malaria being the number one killer disease in Homa Bay County and Kenya as a whole, the Ministry of Health has launched vaccination for infants to compliment other intervention methods.
The mass vaccination will be conducted alongside other intervention methods including indoor residual spraying, issuing nets and malaria antenatal drugs to expectant mothers which are aimed at reducing the prevalence rate of malaria which stands at 27 percent currently in Homa Bay County.
The malaria vaccination will be nationally launched in Ndhiwa sub County of Homa Bay County by the Cabinet Secretary for Health (CS), Sicily Kariuki, an event which will bring together key stake holders in the Health Department.
Speaking on Wednesday during the county health stakeholders meeting in Homa Bay town, the County Director for Heath (CDH), Dr. Gordon Okomo said that the National event would be aimed at sensitizing the citizens on the need for vaccination as a boost for child immunity against Malaria.
Dr. Okomo revealed that for a start, the vaccination would be implemented in three Sub Counties of Homa Bay County among them Homa Bay Town, Kasipul Kabondo and Ndhiwa sub Counties which were randomly selected due to the high prevalence rate of malaria.
The CDH revealed that they were targeting about 18, 000 children during the exercise before the programme is implemented in the remaining Sub Counties.
According to Okomo, the vaccine is targeting children below five years due to their vulnerability to contracting malaria. A complete malaria vaccination will be given in four stages starting with a six month old child then at seven months, nine months and finally at twenty four months old.
Dr. Okomo further revealed that the vaccination would be issued alongside other child vaccinations since each vaccination is targeting specific disease.
The CDH also said that the vaccination is in line with the Homa Bay County health agenda aimed at eliminating communicable diseases in the area as well as the Kenya Vision 2030 and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. He therefore urged the residents to embrace it as a means of reducing mortality rate in the area.
Okomo however, called upon other stakeholders to work together with the Health Department in sensitizing the residents on the need and importance of the Vaccination.
By Godwine Ochieng/ Dan Oduor