Covid-19: Shofco Kibera clinic administers vaccines in Nairobi slums

covid jab

Kibera residents being vaccinated against Covid-19 at a Shofco Clinic in Nairobi, on October 5, 2021.

Photo credit: Pool

Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) Kibera Health Centre has been authorised to administer Covid-19 vaccines in Nairobi slums.

The health centre began administering the vaccine on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, with Kibera residents streaming into the facility to get the much sought-after Covid-19 prevention jab.

Speaking at the facility, Shofco Chief Programmes Officer Gladys Mwende said there was a good turnout on day one.

 “We thank the Ministry of Health for trusting us with the responsibility of bringing the Covid-19 vaccine closer to the people in Kibera. It is important to get people vaccinated here because it is a crowded place and Covid-19 can easily spread quickly,” Ms Mwende said.

 Ms Mwende said Shofco is using community health volunteers to mobilise people to take the vaccines.

 “As Shofco, we have been involved in several campaigns against the spread of coronavirus. We have established several hand washing stations, distributed soaps, and taught people the importance of hygiene, distributed water and food among others. So vaccination is now an added advantage to our work and we call on the community to come for the jabs,” she said.

 “This is the second partnership we are having with the government. Two weeks ago, we carried out a mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign in the Kamukunji area. So we thought we needed to have a consistent supply of the vaccines here at the facility and we are glad to have it,” Shofco Health Director Emma Ingaiza said.

 Ms Ingaiza said they were targeting to inoculate over 100 people daily at the Kibera facility.

 Shofco CEO and Founder Kennedy Odede had earlier expressed his fears about Covid-19 vaccine distribution, saying those privileged in the society were going to get them at the expense of the most vulnerable ones, especially those in the informal settlements.

 However, speaking during day-one of the Covid-19 vaccine administration at his facility in Kibera, Mr Odede said it was a great relief to see that the government had allowed equal distribution of the vaccine, reaching the most vulnerable in slums.

 “This is just a start. We are in over 20 slums across the country and we will lobby until the vaccines reach all of them,” Mr Odede said.  

 Kibera resident, Robert Oloo, said he was grateful that the vaccine had been brought closer to him.

 “I want to thank Shofco for bringing the vaccine closer to us,” 71-year-old Robert Oloo said.

  He urged Kibera residents to go for the Covid-19 vaccines.

 “I am being treated for high blood pressure here at Shofco clinic, but I have been told it is okay to get vaccinated. I am calling on everyone to receive the vaccine because it is free and it is now in Kibera,” he said.

 Shofco established the first ever clinic in Kibera in 2010 with just a handful of staff and volunteers to treat communicable illnesses but by 2014, the numbers had skyrocketed to serving 300 patients per day, necessitating the creation of a major facility in Kibera and in 2015, expansion to Mathare.

 With numbers rising, a need to be closer to the community gave rise to satellite clinics opening in neighbouring Manatha (2014), Kianda (2015), Subra (2017) and Makina (2017).