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Turkana County intensifies fight against measles


The County Government of Turkana has intensified community-based measles surveillance to end the persistent outbreak in Turkana West Sub-county.

Since March 2023, Turkana West has experienced a persistent second wave of measles outbreak. Despite the mass vaccination campaign conducted in the region from June to July 2023, cumulatively 694 cases and 20 mortalities have been reported.

Currently, Lokipoto and its neighboring villages, especially Locharakan, in Letea Ward have become the epicenter of this outbreak; since 19th November 2023, reported measles cases stand at 121 cases with 8 mortalities.

Addressing Community Health Promoters (CHPs) at Lokipoto Dispensary, the County Executive of Health and Sanitation Dr Francis Iris Mariao emphasised the need to enhance health education efforts, particularly seeking timely treatment and vaccination.

“As CHPs support the County Government in reaching out to the villages and households affected by measles, Caregivers need to bring their children for treatment and for those not affected for immunization,” said Dr Mariao.

He further added that the National and County Governments had recognised the vital role of the CHPs, and therefore urged them to support tackling the disease and providing health talks at the household level.

The Chief Officer for Preventive and Promotive Health, Peter Lomorukai, told CHP personnel to collaborate closely with Community Health Assistants (CHAs) to effectively contain the spread of measles.

Turkana West Sub-County Medical Officer of Health, Joel Lochor, announced plans for a vaccination campaign targeting under-5-year-olds, particularly those who might have been missed in prior campaigns.

According to the Nurse-in-charge at Lokipoto Dispensary, Erot Francis Lokiyoto and CHA Daniel Erupe highlighted that overcoming cultural barriers would ensure access to medical care for the children of hesitant parents.

“Public health officers and CHAs must prioritize community engagement and promote vaccination awareness to reduce cultural resistance,” said Lomorukai.

Dr Mariao disclosed plans for a partners’ meeting in Kakuma to rally additional support in the fight against the measles outbreak.