Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has received 21 vehicles from GAVI as part of ongoing efforts aimed at boosting immunization efforts across the country.
Speaking during the handover ceremony at Central Vaccines Store in Kitengela, the CS noted that the support received from partners and donors had boosted the country’s routine immunization coverage to 88%, just 2 percentage points to the targeted 90%.
“It is through your dedication, in your various roles that in collaboration with the county leadership we continue to undertake our mandate of health service delivery, ensuring that immunization coverage remains high and vaccine preventable diseases are controlled,” said Kagwe.
CS Kagwe says previous arrangements where alternative transport such as public vehicles, ambulances and ‘borrowing’ from other departments in the absence of dedicated immunization programme vehicles were made, resulted in an inadequate and unreliable distribution system.
“Your support comes in to plug a gap that we have been aware of for some time. Indeed, the Effective Vaccine Management Assessments have consistently identified various challenges that affect the immunization supply chain including a weak vaccine transport system from the regional depot to sub-counties,” added the CS.
The dispatch of the 21 vehicles came just days after the world commemorated the World Immunization Week, celebrations usually marked at the end of April every year. This year’s theme was Long Life for All “In Pursuit of a long life well lived’’ with a goal of encouraging more people – and their communities – to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Despite immunization being the second most cost-effective public health intervention, a significant number of children in Kenya remain unvaccinated and susceptible to diseases. This coverage varies from County to County with the lowest recording less than 60% immunization coverage. The 3 counties that have made tremendous progress in immunization include Nyamira which is the best performing county overall in immunization, Nyeri County as the best performing county in Covid-19 immunization and Tana-River County which is the best performing ASAL County in immunization.