In 2012, Lions Clubs International Foundation appointed me as the national coordinator for a measles vaccination campaign in Kenya. Despite the fact that measles vaccine is available to all Kenyans through routine immunization, outbreaks in certain parts of the country are quite common and this is why national campaigns are held every 3-4 years.
I was the liaison between 1,200 Lions members across the country and the Ministry of Health in the areas of advocacy, communication and social mobilization. We managed to vaccinate 6.3 million children from nine months to five years old during the campaign. Lions Club members across the country helped raise awareness about vaccination, assisted at vaccination stations and distributed goodies to vaccinated children.
In 2016, the challenge was even greater as our goal was to immunise 19 million children with the age group expanding to children as old as 15. The support of our partners was instrumental in achieving this goal. This was also the first time we introduced the rubella component into the measles vaccine and it went very well.
Photo: Shehzan Luhar helps vaccinates a child against measles & rubella during the nationwide campaign in Kenya in May 2016. Credit: Kennedy Mutua.