Kenya’s child vaccination coverage suffers due to conflict

Kenya’s child vaccination coverage suffers due to conflict

According to a new study, Kenya records its lowest child vaccination coverage in Mandera County due to its proximity to the Somalia border.

According to a report by the Peace Research Institute Oslo PRIO in Norway, regular cross-border attacks by Islamist group Al-Shabaab have dealt a blow to health efforts to ensure universal coverage of child immunisation.

The percent of fully immunised children in the county was found to be 28 percent, which is way below the national average of 71 percent.

If a conflict occurs within 10 kilometres of where a child is residing, the chances of receiving vaccine are 47.2 percent lower. There are a slow uptake of child vaccination services in areas marred by high-intensity of armed conflicts.

Conflicts cause reduced national public health expenditures and cause logistical nightmares resulting in depressed full immunisation rates, according to the findings.

In South Sudan, for example, the combined vaccination coverage against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus was 75 percent at independence in 2011.

Post-independence civil conflicts in the country, according to World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children's Fund estimates, the country fell to 46 percent by 2014.

Since the November 2020 conflict between the Ethiopian forces and the northern Tigrayan rebels broke out, Tigray's gains in health have been watered down to 1990 s levels.

About 70 percent of the assessed hospitals and health centres in Ethiopia have been partially or fully damaged, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

More than 2.5 million people are missing essential health services because of this.

WHO estimates that 48 deaths and three injuries in Somalia were caused by attacks on health care personnel and facilities.

Marleen Temmerman, Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University East Africa said, "We know what needs to be done, and we have always articulated these needs."