More Kenyans Urged To Take Covid-19 Jab As The Virus Spikes

The government has urged more Kenyans to ensure they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 including the booster dose.

The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Health warned that COVID-19 has particularly serious consequences for cancer patients, as they are at high risk for severe complications and mortality due to the virus since cancer patients are immunocompromised.

“We are therefore calling for all patients to ensure they have been fully vaccinated, including taking up the COVID-19 booster dose under our ongoing Accelerated Campaign,” said the PS.

The PS made the remarks while he presided over the commemoration of the National Cancer Survivors Day and launch of Nakuru Regional Cancer Center at the Nakuru Level 5 hospital on Monday, June 6, 2022.

The occasion was also used to launch the regional accelerated Covid-19 vaccination campaign. Last week, the first accelerated Covid-19 vaccination campaign was unveiled in Kibra Level 3 Hospital in Nairobi.

The event in Nakuruwas also graced by Governor, LeeKinyanjui. Other present were officials from the National Government’svarious ministries, departments and agencies, cancer survivors and civil society.

The PS disclosed that in Kenya, cancer is estimated to be the third leading cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular diseases. The annual incidence of cancer is close to 37,000 new cases with an annual mortality of over 28,000.

“Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with the number of new cases expected to rise by about 70% over the next two decades.  It is the second leading cause of death globally, and was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015,” the PS  divulged.

It is worth noting that the Ministry of Health launched the accelerated COVID-19 vaccination campaign following re-emergence of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Speaking at Kibera Level three Hospital during the launch by the Ministry of Health and Nairobi Metropolitan Services, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache noted that the country was experiencing a rise in positivity rate from an average of 0.6 per cent per day to 3.6 per cent, with a weekly average of 3.3 per cent.

“This sharp rise in numbers of new infections means that we must once again take urgent steps to prevent the slide into a crisis like the one we experienced in 2020 and 2021 when we lost many lives and resources,” the PS said.

She urged all National Government Agencies, County Governments, Faith Based Organizations, and the Private Sector to ramp-up COVID-19 vaccination efforts across the country during the COVID-19 vaccination campaign scale-up, in a bid to ensure that all Kenyans are protected.

“Our target as a Ministry is to vaccinate 100% of the adult population and 50% of the teenage population aged between 15-17 years by the end of the year. Currently 8.7 million Kenyans are fully vaccinated translating to 31% of the adult population.” She said.

To ease this burden, the Ministry of Health designed a national cancer control strategy to guide the country in putting in place specific interventions towards cancer prevention and control based on the existing risk factors and available resources.

PS Mochache called upon all stakeholders from government and civil society, as well as those who represent organizations that deliver cancer care, such as hospital and cancer centres to join the government to ensure the battle against cancer is warn.

The Ministry of health has prioritized improving access to comprehensive cancer treatment in Kenya to ensure all individuals and communities receive the health services, they need without suffering financial hardship.

This is in line with Universal Health Coverage that aims to ensure all health services are affordable to all Kenyans and reduce unnecessary pain and suffering.

She underscored on the need for the Ministry of Health to work with counties and other stakeholders to ensure cancer services including prevention, screening, early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitative services are available at various county referral hospitals.

To put the country on the path to eliminating cervical cancer by 2030 as per the WHO Global Strategy for Elimination of cervical cancer, the Kenya government has scaled up cervical cancer screening services.

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