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Prison Staff, inmates, to be vaccinated against Covid – 19

The Kenya Prisons Services is set to receive 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine that will enable all its staff and inmates in the Country vaccinated against the virus.

Chief Administration Secretary (CAS) (Interior), Winnie Guchu, said the Prison’s Health Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Health is finalizing on the protocols that will ensure clear rollout of the vaccines in all correctional facilities around the Country.

Ms Guchu said the vaccination targets more than 50,000 inmates and over 48,000 prison warders and administrative staff housed in all prison facilities in the Country.

Ms Guchu was speaking during the opening of Kenya Prisons, Kenya Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) tripartite engagement workshop in Naivasha.

Ms Guchu said the vaccination which is being rolled out in phases, has already started with 15,000 prison warders receiving the first dose of the jab.

According to the CAS, the vaccination of all inmates, prison warders and staff is the surest way in achieving hard immunity in the facilities which have faced social distancing dilemma since Covid-19 was reported in March 2020 in Kenya.

The CAS regretted that the correctional services have so far reported 14 deaths due to the virus and more than 4,000 individuals placed under quarantine facilities.

Ms Guchu, however, noted that the government has stepped up measures to address sanitation and hygiene challenges in the facilities, by providing hand washing amenities, sanitizers, PPEs and conducting Covid-19 awareness sessions for inmates and staff.

She commended the Prisons Department through the support of Kenya Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for starting to install hygiene facilities inside the cells to replace the use of makeshift facilities such as buckets.

Through these interventions, the CAS noted that hygiene is paramount in tackling the pandemic and in ensuring that correctional services are more livable and dignified for all.

By Erastus Gichohi

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