How the Lake Region delivered on Covid vaccine mandate

LREB Covid-19 committee advisory chairman Prof Khama Rogo. He says a change of approach saw many locals take up the jab.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group.

Health experts in the Lake Region Economic Bloc have attributed the sharp increase in Covid-19 vaccination uptake among locals to a change of approach that includes taking the jabs to residents’ doors.

The region had struggled to increase vaccination numbers for months. Some of the barriers were myths, vaccine misconceptions, and misinformation.

But a recent Ministry of Health Covid-19 report has listed five counties – Kisumu (301,557), Siaya (244,247), Kakamega (440,613), Nyamira (150,500) and Migori (222,906) – among the top 10 where people have been fully vaccinated.

LREB health officials increased door-to-door outreach and community sensitisation through public health officers in wards.

They spread vaccine information using social networks, radio talk shows, radio mentions, social media and TV shows.

Prof Rogo

LREB Covid-19 committee advisory chairman Prof Khama Rogo told the Nation that they used data to determine what caused low uptake of Covid-19 vaccines.

"We usually have weekly meetings with the county leadership. Finally, our advice as a committee is bearing fruit. Counties that listen have shown tremendous change,” said Prof Rogo.

He added: "These vaccines have expiry dates and they come in so many doses, therefore we make sure they are administered quickly."

Kisumu County Public Health Director Fred Oluoch said they had to involve public health officers in wards to sensitise locals.

The county Health department formed teams in every ward to facilitate vaccinations, thus increasing access and availability of vaccines.

The team visited schools, churches, social gatherings, markets and workplaces.

"We realised the community health volunteers were not doing such a good job. We had to use people who were conversant with public health regulations," Mr Oluoch said. 

Reported deaths and infections had pushed locals to take the vaccination seriously, he said.

Kisumu County has recorded 350 deaths due to Covid-19 since May 2022.