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Kenyans in rural Siaya keener on Covid jabs than urban Kibra

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy MERCY KAHENDA | Mon,Oct 25 2021 18:35:00 EAT
By MERCY KAHENDA | Mon,Oct 25 2021 18:35:00 EAT


The study involved 856 participants of which 458 (54 percent) were from Asembo and 398 (46 percent) from Kibra. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

There is more uptake of Covid-19 jabs in villages of rural Siaya County than in Kibra slums in Nairobi, according to a recent survey.

A preliminary scientific analysis reveals that residents of Asembo in Siaya are more knowledgeable on availability of vaccines and need for uptake than those in Kibra.

The report notes that “awareness of the existence of a Covid-19 vaccine was higher in Asembo (90 percent) than Kibra (67) percent,” adds the report which also notes that 84 percent of participants from Asembo would accept the jab as opposed to 60 percent from Kibra.

Covid 19 Time Series


Even as the Ministry of Health revamps on educating and sensitizing the public on the importance of vaccine uptake, hesitancy remained a concern among local and reasons cited by the study include safety concerns at 37 percent, insufficient information at 19 percent and lack of belief in the vaccine at 17 percent.

Low knowledge on vaccines was witnessed irrespective of Kenya having received more than seven million doses.

The study titled Covid-19 Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices and Vaccine Acceptability in Rural Western Kenya and an Urban Nairobi Informal Settlement, Kenya, involved 856 participants of which 458 (54 percent) were from Asembo and 398 (46 percent) from Kibra.

The survey was conducted from April 21 to May 5 this year using randomly selected adults based infectious diseases surveillance (PBIDS) cohort in Nairobi and Siaya Counties.

In both Asembo and Kibera adult residents had high level of Covid-19 related knowledge.

“In May,…more than 95 percent correctly answered at least 6 out of 8 knowledge questions,” adds the report.

Further, the report noted that residents of Asembo trust religious leaders, health care workers and government health authorities, while those in Kibera trust World Health Organization (WHO), scientists and health care workers more.

But the respondents were generally satisfied with the government’s measures to prevent Covid-19- understanding in Kibra stood at 81 percent and 82 percent in Asembo.


Covid-19 vaccine. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Scientists noted that target messaging should be key in Kibra, to boost uptake as “urban informal settlements like Kibra may require targeted messaging to improve vaccine awareness, acceptability, and uptake as COVID-19 vaccines become more available”.

However, approximately 90 percent of participants in Asembo and 82 percent in Kibra were worried about contracting the virus.

On a positive note, nearly all respondents, representing 96 percent, in both sites observed public health containment measures including “handwashing with 72 percent of rural, and 68 percent of urban participants reporting always using soap when washing hands.”

Proper wearing of face masks was reported by 93 percent of participants from Asembo and 95 percent in Kibra.

Scientists noted that the findings will be valuable in guiding the design and distribution of information, education, and communication (IECs) materials on COVID-19 mitigation strategies, including vaccines with media campaigns singled out as crucial in reinforcing Covid-19 knowledge, attitudes, and adherence to mitigation measures in both rural and urban populations in Kenya.

Also, religious leaders and healthcare workers were named as important cogs in addressing vaccine hesitancy as well as safety concerns and false, negative beliefs on  COVID-19 vaccines.

“Partners, messaging, and approaches should be appropriate to each geographic area and, or communities,” advised researchers whose preliminary study report was prepared by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –Kenya’s Division of Global Health Protection (CDC-KDGHP), Kemri-Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR), and the Washington State University Global Health Program in Kenya (WSU-K).

The Ministry of Health Acting Director, Dr Patrick Amoth, said the ministry is working with 47 counties to conduct micro-plant to establish areas for mobile outreaches to bring doses closer to the people.

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