Free rotavirus vaccine: the reason why I am happy this cold Monday morning!

I always love the first day of the month for one simple reason and I know I am not alone in this- it is payday and by the powers conferred to my wallet I will be empowered to make purchasing choices!

This first July will fall on a Tuesday and for the Pizza lovers; it is terrific Tuesday where you ‘buy one- get-one free’ I can imagine the traffic at Pizza Inn this terrific Tuesday. That makes me love this 1st July more! But what makes the day even more special to the extend that I am singing Pharrell’s Happy song is because starting 1st July, ROTA VIRUS vaccine will be introduced into the national routine immunization schedule in the country, targeting 1.4 million children under 1 year of age for free. This vaccine will be given to all children who are 6 weeks old just like any other childhood vaccine.

The Ministry of Health, through the Unit of Vaccine and Immunization Services and with the support of health partners such as GAVI Alliance, World Health Organization and UNICEF will For the very first time, offer the vaccine in all public health facilities for free. Before 1st July, the vaccine was offered at 5,000 shillings for 2 doses an amount that is way too exorbitant for many Kenyan moms living below the poverty line.

Currently, diarrheal illness is the second most common cause of deaths of children under 5 years of age after Acute Respiratory illness. Rota virus is the most common cause of these diarrheal illnesses, with almost half of the hospitalizations and deaths from diarrhea associated with it.

note-rotavirus

According to the 2013 progress report by UNICEF called Committing to child survival: a promise renewed, 73 children out of 1,000 births in Kenya die before age 5. Kenya is second in East Africa Community Bloc after Burundi with 104 births out of 1,000. Uganda is at 69, Rwanda at 55 and Tanzania at 54 out of 1,000 births. Therefore, Introduction of free rota virus vaccine, together with other interventions will reduce the disease burden in terms of childhood mobility and mortality and significantly contribute to the attainment of MDG 4.

 

Yes, there is another polio campaign!

 

I was to meet a friend on Wednesday this week  for a coffee date- the damage was on her but poor me I could not honour the date as I worked late preparing activations, mentions and promos for the coming polio campaign. Around 8 radio stations under Kenya Broadcasting Corporation were to start airing the activations and ads starting 5am on Thursday. As a Creative Producer, you have to please the client at all times and generate revenue for the corporation as well so; working late is part of me just like my hair cut hehehe!

So, on Thursday I managed to do lunch with my girl friend but now the damage was on me as a compensation for the previous day’s aborted coffee date. As a self-appointed maternal and children health advocate, I couldn’t waste an opportunity to ask my friend to ensure that her little princess gets the polio drop which will be administered from 21st to 25th June.

Good friends can be mean with their words at time huh! She looked me straight in the eye and said ‘Lourdes, polio drop again! Are you sure you have your facts right? Aaaaaai kwani kuna outbreak! (is there another outbreak?) ooops! Too many questions and accusations! Thank God I was through with my chicken wings.

TIRED FACE

Her reaction never surprised me because I receive such comments when I mobilize my friends to have their under 5 children get vaccinated.

You may think that these polio vaccines are way too many for your little one but my friend, just they way you travel everyday to and from work is the same way wild polio virus travel! Yes, the polio virus is always on the go and this puts your little one in danger!

Since May 2013, the Ministry of Health has been confirming cases of Wild Polio Virus type1. Also, with ongoing polio outbreaks in some of our neighboring countries and low immunization coverage in some counties puts everyone in Kenya is at risk of getting polio.

Having successive vaccination campaigns at interval of 4 weeks therefore is a strategy that has been employed by the Ministry of Health and partners to rapidly interrupt any transmission of wild polio virus and to boost population immunity because as long as a single child remains infected, all the children in the country are at risk of contracting polio.

The effects of polio cannot be over emphasized – polio causes paralysis for life usually in the arms and/or legs. It may also cause death due to breathing difficulties.

There is no cure for polio. Polio can only be prevented by immunization with Oral Polio vaccine (OPV). Polio vaccine is given routinely to all children under 5 years, starting at birth and then at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks; and additional polio doses given many times during Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIAs) popularly called polio campaigns, offers additional protection to our children and all other people. It can also be given to, older children and even to adults in case of a polio outbreak.

A Boy receives Polio vaccine drop

A Boy receives Polio vaccine drop

From tomorrow, 21st to Wednesday 25th June, health workers(vaccinators) will be moving from house to house to administer the vaccine for free. The reason for doing house to house visit is to reach everyone including the sick,pregnant mothers and people with disabilities who may not walk to the health facility.

So mama or mama figure, ensure your child is vaccinated so that he/she is protected from this disabling disease. By the way, the vaccine is VERY safe for all children.

Together let’s immunize for a polio free Kenya!!!

 

 

 

A Tribute to my Little Sunshine…

Lourdes Diary

nice flowers

No words I write could ever say how sad and empty I feel today.
It is exactly one year today, 14th June since the Angels came for you my little Sunshine

I only have pictures of ultra sound scans, and a frozen piece of time,
To remind me of how it was; to remind me of how you and I were connected

I loved you so much Son. And my love for you will always be there.

You always will be the most important part of my heart’s memory and the first fruit of my womb.

I’ll cherish the moments you kicked in my womb, especially when I sang ‘From this Moment’ by Shania Twain- I promised to love you as long as I live, from that moment on.

I’m sure that if you had come to the world, you would have graced me with your charms.

A thousand…

View original post 68 more words

A Tribute to my Little Sunshine…

nice flowers

No words I write could ever say how sad and empty I feel today.
It is exactly one year today, 14th June since the Angels came for you my little Sunshine

I only have pictures of ultra sound scans, and a frozen piece of time,
To remind me of how it was; to remind me of how you and I were connected

I loved you so much Son. And my love for you will always be there.

You always will be the most important part of my heart’s memory and the first fruit of my womb.

I’ll cherish the moments you kicked in my womb, especially when I sang ‘From this Moment’ by Shania Twain- I promised to love you as long as I live, from that moment on.

I’m sure that if you had come to the world, you would have graced me with your charms.

A thousand words won’t bring you back; I know because I’ve tried
Neither will a thousand tears; I know because I’ve cried

Now you’re up in Heaven with the Angels up above
They will take my place for now and they’ll give you all their love.

My little Sunshine, my small boy, my honeybunch
Rest in peace katoto ka mummy and know mummy loves you until her dying day!

Mwaaaaaaah!

rest in peace son

 

 

Studying while pregnant

It is official, this mama is done with school at least for the time being. Now I focus on developing other aspects of my life as i explore avenues to pursue further education.

I technically completed my undergrads in February but I had pending 3rd year semester 2 exams which I deferred after my unfortunate incidence of losing my little Sunshine. The exams were not bad if I must say. My Sunshine must have influenced the lecturers to set the exams in my favour. I impressed myself and I hope I will impress the individual lecturers too.

Being a mature age student has its advantages and it has its own shares of challenges as well like getting pregnant; sometimes by accident, sometimes by plan but either way, you have to add that into the mix of study, life, job and so on!

working-mother

I sat the exams with  a number of pregnant mamas-cum-students. In fact, one of the students was only 2 days to her due date by the time we were in our 3rd last exams but she completed the exams without any hitches anyway. I remember her complaining of some backache and saying she could be in labour, just before we commenced the Entrepreneurship skills exam. I admired her bravery, she was so determined to do the paper and even joked that an ambulance was on standby just in case the baby came amid exams.

I can’t lie, studying while pregnant is the hardest leave alone working because if your employer is as considerate as mine, you qualify for some bed rests and sick offs once in a while. You can even have flex time. Ehe! But for studies, mama you just have to do you assignments or risk the devil of missing marks that is making many students not to graduate in Kenyan universities. You need to attend classes too because a lecturer can easily evict you from his/ her class during exams if you never attended a considerable number of classes remember there are also some 5 free marks for attendance which can save you from getting that supplementary.

You may have heard about little bouts of forgetfulness during pregnancy called momnesia or sometimes “pregnancy brain.” That becomes a problem too! Though Pregnancy does not change a woman’s brain, some women don’t feel as sharp as usual when they’re pregnant. During my pregnancy, it was quite different because I felt so sharp in fact; I got straight As in my 3rd year semester 1 exams. My trick was to involve my sunshine in my study so anytime I forget whatever I had learned the previous night before exams, I simply ‘consulted’ him- I rubbed my bump and whispered ‘baby, what did we read on this?’ and believe you me, I remembered!!

Pregnancy experiences are never the same, but you can still study and be the best you can. I believe women have been given an uncommon grace of endurance. Just take it easy, have friends-cum-classmates who can understand and support you such that if you are unable to attend classes, they will update you and photocopy the notes for you.

And if the heat is so much in the kitchen, just defer your studies or exams my dear especially if the whole studies thing is stressing you up. Facts on file indicate that stress in the womb can affect a baby’s temperament and behavioral development. Besides, Infants whose mothers experienced high levels of stress while pregnant, particularly in the first trimester, show signs of more depression and irritability. They also are slower to “habituate” or tune out repeated stimuli — a skill that, in infants, is an important predictor of IQ.

So, drop it like its hot if it is stressing you up after all, studies and/ or exams is never a matter of life and death!!!

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Twitter