What has been your experience overseeing the VAN Project in Makueni and Turkana Counties?
So far so good. I’ve had a very good experience with this project whereby I played a critical role in bringing together the stakeholders in delivering this project. You can imagine bringing together stakeholders from the Ministry of Health rel,igious leaders, national government, administrative officers as well as Community leaders to ensure that we deliver for this project. I think that has been a very nice experience.
What are the key milestones of the VAN Project?
Number one is the vaccination numbers. We have managed to vaccinate more than 30,000 people despite the low infection rate that make people think that Covid is no longer there. Hitting such numbers not has not been easy and we had to use a lot of strategies. I know we are not yet there as we are targeting 50,000 or even more. I know we are going to work towards that and make sure that we deliver.
Secondly, when getting the messages out there, so we’ve been able to successfully use a number of avenues to let people know the importance of vaccination. We have used the platforms such as FM radios both in Turkana and Makueni Counties. We have also used social media and influencers like religious leaders, local administrative officers. So I think that those are some of the key Milestones that we’ve achieved for this project.
What are some of the interesting discoveries you have made while working on the project?
The power that the influencers have in delivering for this project; for example in Turkana County, I discovered that community leaders have very big influence for instance when the community leaders take the lead in getting vaccinated then you will see the entire community following suit.
When I look at Makueni County, religious leaders played a very critical role for example the Anglican bishop in Makueni. He played a very critical role because he has a big congregation and he made sure that in the occasions that he hosted, he made sure that he influenced people to be vaccinated. For instance when the church was celebrating 10th parish anniversary, he took lead in getting his booster jab and from there all the clergy and entire congregation followed suit.
Any challenges faced?
There were a number of problems that we encountered in the implementation of the VAN Project. Number one when you look at the design of this project in terms of documentation the project was envisaged to run on an online platform that is the Chanjo System. At some point, the system could go down in some remote areas especially in Turkana County where you cannot access internet hence difficult to access the system. We came up with an idea of printing registers that we were able to document manually so that at the end of the day when the system is up and running the we could have health records and information officers doing the data entry into the Chanjo System ensuring that all the data was captured.
The other challenge is the distance to health facilities especially in Turkana. The trekking distances to health facilities are long and therefore this affected the coverage of the project and access to vaccination services. What we did in these far flung areas is that we had to organize for outreach services in order to reach those population and vaccinate them.
What is your memorable moment at work?
During the immunization week, we worked closely with the Interreligious Council to organize campaign activities where we were able to vaccinate a very big number of people. I want to thank the guys from Interreligious Council both from the national level and those that are here at local level. I’m looking forward to this year’s Immunization Week whereby we may work even extra hard to make sure that we we get the numbers