By Thomas Bwire
Photography by: Veronique Magnin
“Protected them, vaccines work”; Do your part!
Over the years, the uptake of vaccines has increased globally saving the lives of children like 15-month old Asenath Gwahallah in Kibera, Kenya.
Children should receive six vaccines that prevent childhood diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, and measles. 39 out of 1000 children die due to diseases that can be prevented by vaccination
Closer home, 3 out of every 4 children below 2 years in Kenya have been fully vaccinated, this is according to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey Report (KDHS), 2014. Kenya spends close to 20 Trillion shillings treating vaccine-preventable diseases. Yet, immunization can cut this costs and save the lives of thousands of children.
The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly advocates that all children should receive all the basic vaccinations to provide better body immunity to fight diseases. Vaccines are safe and the common myths that prevent parents and guardians from taking their children for vaccination should be busted.
According to UNICEF, if vaccination is not prioritized, some of the most marginalized children will miss out on their right to benefit from immunization, which could mean a life and death situation.
The Tabitha Clinic in Kibera estimates that about 80% of households in Kibera have taken their children for these life-saving vaccines. Mothers are aware that vaccines are a key element in a child’s life hence they ensure that they do not miss.
Immaculate Kihuzili, 23, mother to 15 months old Asenath Gwahallah. She is committed to ensuring that her child gets the six recommended vaccines to safeguard her future.
“Vaccines are important because they will prevent my child from getting diseases polio”. Her daughter has received all the recommended vaccines free of charge from the Kibera South Health Centre.
Vilance Amondi, 28, is a proud mother of three, her last born is now 27 months old.
She recognizes the importance of vaccines and religiously takes her last born for all the clinics, just like she did for her other two children.
“Vaccines are critical. I am happy because they are readily available and given for free at public health facilities,”
Inviolata Akinyi is a proud and happy grandmother.
She smiles because her 15-month-old granddaughter is up-to-date with all the recommended vaccines.
When she did not get a particular vaccine at the health center, she gladly paid for the vaccine at a local private clinic in Kibera.
She secured her granddaughter’s future by protecting her from the wrath of common childhood diseases.
”I like her to live a healthier and happier life free of diseases so that she can be a blessing to me later in life. I urge parents to take a keen interest in their young children’s health and ensure all vaccines are given”, says the 46-year-old grandmother.
What step have you taken, as your child been immunized?
Health facilities in Kibera that offer immunization services include:
- Kibera South Health Center:
- Lea Toto Medical Centre
- Tabitha Clinic
- Shofco Kibera Clinic
- Marie Stopes-Kenya Kibera
- Ushirika Centre
- Vipawa Medical Clinic
- Makina Clinic
- Kibera Community Health Centre -Amref