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County undertakes sensitization on Covid-19, HPV vaccines

Turkana County Department of Health Thursday rolled out the sensitization of various key actors and community leaders on the importance of taking Covid-19 and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

The forum was attended by National Government Administrative Officers, County Government Officers, Civil Society Organizations, Religious leaders, and Community Elders among others.

Turkana County Health Promotion Officer, Ruth Areman said that the move is aimed at raising public awareness to encourage the members of the public to turn out to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

She noted that the vaccine uptake from the current 5.5 per cent is dismal.

“Turkana County currently stands at 5.5 per cent vaccination uptake, the second last in the country and we will depend on the stakeholders convened here to help pass information to the public to enable us to achieve a greater percentage,” said Areman.

She further announced that the department of health in the county is set to run a public vaccination campaign from 28th January to 6th February, to reach out to all the people across the region and increase the Covid-19 vaccination uptake.

Additionally, the county Health Promotion officer urged the public to consider screening themselves for cervical cancer adding that cancer can be prevented and treated if detected early.

She said January had been marked as a month to educate the public on cancer, especially cervical cancer, adding that there had been an ongoing free cervical cancer screening in the Lodwar County Referral Hospital.

She encouraged members of the public, especially 10-year-old girls to go for screening services and take the HPV vaccine.

“On 4th February, there will be a launch and the celebration of world cancer day, we urge you all to come because there will be free screening and sensitization so that people may know their cancer status early,” said Areman.

On his part, Turkana County Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Coordinator Abdirahman Musa pointed out that cervical cancer is caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is preventable through administration of HPV vaccine.

“Cervical cancer is common even among 10-year-old girls. It is preventable and girls need to take two doses of HPV vaccine in a six-month interval,” said Musa.

He further said HPV is sexually transmitted and early screening of women in the productive age will also help identify cancer infection.

The sensitization forum comes a week after the County Chief Officer of Health and Sanitation Dr. Malcom Lochodo said that the department in collaboration with other partners under the support of Kenya Red Cross had made commitments and agreed on the way forward to scale up Covid-19 vaccine uptake to 10 per cent and as well to increase HPV vaccination rate in the area.

By Peter Gitonga and Ekuwam Sylvester

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