COUNTY, PARTNERS LAUNCH STRUCTURED RESPONSE TO END THE MEASLES OUTBREAK IN TURKANA WEST

COUNTY, PARTNERS LAUNCH STRUCTURED RESPONSE TO END THE MEASLES OUTBREAK IN TURKANA WEST

The County Government and its partners have jointly commenced a structured response to end the persistent measles outbreak in Turkana West Sub-county.
The Sub-county has experienced a second wave of measles outbreak, reporting 694 cases with 20 mortalities as of 18th December, 2023. This began in March 2023.
This is happening despite conducting a county-wide supplement immunisation activity (SIA) in December 2022, and a mass vaccination campaign from June to July 2023 covering the entire Turkana West.
Currently, a sporadic outbreak has been reported in Lokipoto and its neighboring villages in Letea Ward. The Lokipoto Dispensary has reported 121 cases and eight mortalities as of 18th December 2023.
To manage the surge in cases, the County Health Department in conjunction with partners has set up a case management center at the dispensary and sensitised the community health promoters, community leaders, and kraal leaders on the importance of seeking early treatment and immunization.
Held in Kakuma’s UNHCR Compound, the meeting brought together the County Health Department officials and over 10 partners, to deliberate on the best approaches to end the outbreak and enhance routine immunization services.
The meeting was called under the health strategic objective of the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Plan II (KISEDP II).
During the meeting, Dr Francis Iris Mariao highlighted proper home-based and facility-level care, continuous vaccination, and health education as some of the approaches to end persistent transmission.
“Despite the SIAs and mass vaccination campaigns, we still have missed immunization opportunities as the people are nomadic pastoralists. They are highly mobile in Turkana West and Lokichoggio,” said Dr Mariao.
He also highlighted the fluidity of the movement in the two sub-counties meaning the immunisation status of the people was not known especially with the refugees.
Although bordering the two international borders, CECM said, with Uganda and South Sudan, the majority of the refugees are from the latter failed state.
The Turkana West Sub-county Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Hassan Salat, stressed the urgent need to contain the outbreak before the commencement of the next school term in January 2024.
The DCC noted that the sub-county had diverse threats such as nomadic pastoralists, porous international borders, and refugees. In light of these, the National Government Administrator called for strategies that would manage and contain the outbreak effectively.
“The National Sub-county Administration will support the County Government in the dissemination of information and coordination efforts,” he said.
The Deputy Sub-county Administrator, Amos Lokoler, pointed out that the mapping of the kraals and their migratory routes would assist in sensitizing the pastoralists on measles control and prevention.
According to the Sub-county Medical Officer of Health Joel Lochor, health partners working together through the KISEDP II would lead to a positive impact on the key indicators; especially on immunization coverage.
On their part, the UNHCR Kenya team affirmed its commitment to strengthening partnerships and structured engagements through KISEDP II, on ending the measles outbreak.
The partner representatives were from UNHCR Kenya, International Rescue Committee, Kenya Red Cross Society, UNICEF Kenya, USAID Imarisha Jamii, USAID NAWIRI, Save the Children Kenya, Film Kenya, Peace Winds Japan, ISARAID and PanAfricare Kenya.

TOBONGU LORE

13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024