Medics in Kenya raise alarms of a possible measles outbreak

Child receives immunization

“For the past nine months, a total of thirty two young children have succumbed to complications relating to a new measles outbreak in the country.” This was the announcement made by the Public Health and Sanitization Director Shahnaaz Sharif.  It’s believed that the outbreak commenced at the North-Eastern refugee camps following the influx of refugees from the neighbouring Somalia region. “The deadly disease then spread to the rest of the country with an exclusion of Lamu and Marsabit. A total of 767 cases had been confirmed by government’s health officials,” explained Sharif.

Compared to last year’s 665 cases reported and confirmed, there was a drastic decrease of the spread of the disease. It’s however argued that should the government take serious measures to curb the deadly epidemic by allocating enough resources to the health sector, the number of deaths could be maintained at a figure way below the one witnessed over the past couple of years.

Sharif clarified to the press that the initial cases were first reported in the North-Eastern and the Eastern provinces. A total of 285 districts are said to have detected the spread of the disease via the health institutions around. This according to the Director is to be considered as a major national outbreak like any other and stringent measures to be taken to curb further spread of the disease.

“The government has planned to carry out a nationwide measles vaccination campaign. The campaign would see about six million children of ages between nine months and five years across the country benefit,” said Sharif. However, the planned nationwide campaign is said to take place between the months of November commencing on 3rd and ending on7th this year. It’s estimated that the program would cost the taxpayer more than KSh.500, 000,000. In addition to that children living in the northern part of the country would be administered with polio vaccine.

“Most refugees entering into the country in most cases are never vaccinated against the disease and because of this; most children are put at a higher risk over the highly contagious disease. It should be noted that the campaign against measles would see all children living in the refugee camps up to the age of 15 years be vaccinated,” explained Sharif.

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