Three more children have died in Nyanza province, bringing to eight infants who have succumbed to an overdose of the measles vaccine in the area.
The three died yesterday after their mothers, ignorant of the dangers of repeat dosage of the vaccine and Vitamin ‘A’ supplements, took their children for fresh vaccination in a span of 15 hours.
Two died suddenly at the Homa Bay District Hospital after receiving the repeat dose.
Homa Bay District Medical Officer of Health (MoH) Dr Dan Otieno confirmed the deaths but claimed they may have been caused by other ailments.
“I am made to understand that the parents of the deceased children had failed to alert medical personnel that their children had been suffering from other ailments,” he said.
The third child was said to have died in a rural post in Rangwe.
Reports showed the two who died in hospital had been vaccinated earlier for the same disease at Shauri Yako Primary School the previous day. But apparently oblivious of the dangers of repeat dosages, mothers destroyed Monday’s vaccination certificates and wiped out ink marks on their fingers imprinted at the first vaccination exercise and went for the repeat dose.
Yesterday, the Dr Otieno attributed the deaths to ignorance by the mothers, who he said, ignored advice from health workers.
“Prior to the commencement of the exercise each day, the health workers always pointed out the dangers of taking a repeat dose of the measles vaccine and Vitamin A supplement, but some mothers ignored this,” said Dr Otieno.
Elsewhere, in Kakamega district, several children have reportedly died over the past few weeks after being vaccinated for measles more than once. Several others are admitted in hospitals with complications.
In Shinyalu division a three year old baby died on Tuesday after receiving two jabs in different hospitals.
Mothers in search mosquito nets donated alongside the vaccine are said to present their children for more that the required single measles dose. The Shinyalu fatality the child died after receiving two jabs at Shikusi Dispensary and at Mukumu Mission Hospital within 24 hours. It developed complications and died as the mother received a second free net.
Local residents told Kenya Times that mothers had been forewarned against multiple vaccination as reports showed 80 per cent of children under five have been vaccinated in Western province.
Western Provincial Medical Officer of Health, Dr Olang’a Onudi said he is investigating the report vaccine deaths and disclosed that children from Uganda have been brought for the exercise which ends today.
“We are just being informed that children are dying due to the measles immunization but we are yet to get any more details to enable us act. We are appealing to anybody with more information to help us so that we can take immediate action,” said the PMO.
Dr Onundi said the influx from Uganda, reported in Busia and Teso districts, had caused a shortage of mosquito nets. He also said some mothers presented older children for vaccination to get the antimalarial nets.
The ministry of Health launched a country wide vaccination campaign for children aged between nine months and five years in the wake of a measles outbreak.