BY ANTONY MUTUNGA
Amref Health Africa and AstraZeneca, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH), launch a fleet of Mobile Vaccination Clinics (MVCs) in an effort to protect last-mile communities from the pandemic.
As of June 17, 2022, 31.4% of the adult population in Kenya were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while Africa’s average vaccination rate is 17.7% lagging behind other world regions. Each of the 10 mobile clinics are set to help vaccinate 70 to 100 people per day reaching up to 1,000 people (on a daily basis) once they are fully operational.
The initiative will also help to bridge the COVID-19 vaccine gap by providing vaccine education, COVID-19 screening, safe and accessible vaccination, and post-immunisation care. Operated in partnership with the County Health Departments, and adhering to health and infection prevention control standards, the custom-built clinics are fitted with solar-powered fridges and backup power supply.
At the same time, data capture and reporting is facilitated through onsite web-enabled computers.
According to Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO Amref Health Africa, it is evident that health emergencies are here to stay, and thinking out of the box through innovations in health may be the only way to help the country get out of the woods.
“Addressing other health determinants such as non-communicable diseases that influence how health emergencies affect us is critical to avert the negative impact that health emergencies such as COVID-19 have on communities. The movable clinics are, therefore, a great addition to the toolkit that will ensure equity in access to last-mile communities with much-needed vaccination and essential health services,” said Gitahi.
He added that the clinics will add to the health system infrastructure, sustain the momentum towards vaccinating 70% of the eligible population, and further improve the country’s preparedness for health emergencies in the country.
When not conducting community outreach and vaccination services, the clinics will support existing public health infrastructure by serving as fixed clinics, thereby reducing the burden on local health facilities.
Dr. Pelin Incesu, area vice president, AstraZeneca for the Middle East and Africa, reiterated that the partnership will ensure that no Kenyan is left behind in the efforts to protect lives from COVID-19 and other life-threatening diseases.
“To date, over three billion doses of our COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered across the globe, helping to save an estimated 3.6 million lives,” Incesu added.