The Ministry of Health in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the Garissa County Government has reopened a vaccination depot in Garissa to ease access to vaccines by the North Eastern counties.
The depot, which will also serve Wajir and Mandera counties is expected to reduce frequent distribution trips between the Central Vaccine Store and the counties.
The previous depot was razed down by fire in 2017 and resulted in disruption of the immunization supply chain for the North Eastern counties.
Speaking during the reopening session, Health CS Susan Nakhumicha in a speech read on her behalf by the Health PS Eng. Peter Tum said that the depot, which has been equipped with a new cold room, four freezers and one ultra-low temperature freezer, will now enable the counties to deploy vaccines with special requirements such as the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
“The Ministry of Health, in line with the Afra Bora Mashinani initiative, is keen to ensure that primary health care services reach those who need them in good time and is committed in supporting devolution and collaborating with counties to make this a reality,” said Nakhumicha.
“The county depots that had been established in Mandera and Wajir will continue to complement the vaccine supply chain, reduce the lead time (period the supplier takes to have goods ready for delivery and stock outs (situation when an item is out of stock) at the facility implementation level,” she added.
The reopening of the depot comes just a day before the ministry starts a seven-day immunization exercise against Measles Rubella in Garissa, Mandera, Wajir, West Pokot, Nairobi, Marsabit and Turkana counties, which have been described as ‘high risk’.
On his part, the PS appealed to the parents and guardians to make all efforts to ensure that their children who are between 9 months and 59 months receive the additional dose of Measles Rubella vaccine during the week so that they are protected against the disease and its serious effects.
Tum assured the residents that the vaccines are safe and urged them to ignore any contrary propaganda against vaccination.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which affects mostly children and those below 5 years are the most at risk of severe disease or even death therefore.
Present during the event were Garissa Governor Nathif Jama, County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich and WHO as well as UNICEF representatives, among other health partners in the county.
By Erick Kyalo