First Lady presides over national launch of free rotavirus vaccine

The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta at Machakos County for the launch of Rotavirus Vaccine Campaign

By PSCU

The Government has rolled out a free vaccine that will protect infants from diarrhea which is a leading cause of hospitalisation and death in young children.

The rotavirus vaccine will be given as part of the routine and free vaccination program offered by the Ministry of Health to protect children against rotavirus, which is the leading cause of diarrhea.

The vaccine will be offered to all infants in two oral doses with the first one given at 6 weeks and the second dose at 10 weeks.

Speaking when she rolled out the free national vaccination service in Machakos Wednesday, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said no child will be left to die because of preventable diseases.

“This vaccine which has been out reach for most families will now be available to all children in Kenya for free and will be available in all health facilities,” she said.

The First Lady called on parents to take their children to the nearest health center for the vaccine, which is easy and safe to use.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua thanked the Government for adding rotavirus into the free immunization schedule.

He called on politicians to reduce the rhetoric and engage in more development work.

“Our country is a poor country and we can’t continue playing politics when our children are dying. We are the thirtieth poorest country in the world but in the top ten in political noise-making,” he said.

Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said Machakos was chosen to host the national launch of the vaccine because the County had made great strides in improving health services.

He said Machakos Level 5 Hospital was the cleanest hospital in the country with excellent facilities.

“We feel honored working with the Machakos governor. When other governors were talking of retrenching health workers last year, Mutua and his team were actually recruiting,” he said.

World Health Organisation country representative Custodia Mandlhate said the United Nations congratulates the Government for launching the vaccine.

She also thanked the First Lady for the role she has played in bringing maternal and child health to the forefront.

“The UN wants to applaud the passion shown by the mother of the nation. You are an all weather partner in health,” she said.

USAID country representative Karen Freeman said the launch of the vaccine was another milestone in Kenya’s expanded immunization program.

According to World Health Organization statistics, the virus kills more than 600,000 children and is responsible for 2 million hospitalizations globally every year.

85 percent of these deaths occur mainly in Africa and developing countries in other parts of the world.