Coalition Partners to Address Vaccine Hesitancy 

Source: United Methodist News

As vaccine hesitancy continues to stifle government COVID-19 vaccination rollouts across sub-Saharan Africa, the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, composed of leaders from Christian, Hindu and Muslim faith communities, are partnering with the Wema Health Foundation to promote vaccinations.

Through coordinated campaigns at local churches and other houses of worship across the country, the organizers have helped vaccinate over 1,000 people. Targeting specifically older adults with pre-existing conditions in densely populated areas, partners such as the United Methodist Church have made sanctuary and educational facility spaces available to host vaccination clinics.

Additionally, special efforts are being made to reach rural communities that do not have ready access to an immunization center and public transit making distance a major impediment to vaccination even for interested persons.

Given Kenya’s dotted network of interconnected village systems in rural areas, the partnership hopes to assist government officials who have been unable to effectively develop systems to cultivate trusted community ambassadors to reach out to the individuals in many remote parts of the country.

Rolled out with much fanfare in late December, early efforts were stifled by the lack of funding preventing the implementation of holistic programs that targeted caregivers, mothers, and children.

Ramping up funding, the Wema Health Foundation partnered with several local churches providing funding to congregational vaccine centers. Among the recipients were St. John’s United Methodist Church, Kayole, and First United Methodist, Moheto, who have held three vaccination sites respectively within the past two months.

Joined by missions partners from the United States, teams have been active in Moheto administering not only vaccines but also providing other essential health services to expectant mothers providing prenatal care, treatment for complications associated with female circumcision, and other pediatric services. he mission teams also delivered premade period-pad kits to the local schoolgirls through a program of First, Moheto designed to teach girls about reproductive health and safety. 

With funding from the Wema Health Foundation, St. John’s, Kayole, has partnered with stakeholders to conduct a vaccination program that vaccinated over 600 people against COVID-19. 

According to Rev. Patrick Wandera, pastor of St. John’s, Kayole, the vaccination program has helped to vaccinate nearly 95% of the adult population in his community. 

“Many people thanked us for providing the vaccination program,” he said. “The Congolese refugee families felt welcome and cared for, as well as our other members. It has been an avenue of evangelism and much more of a kind gesture to the community.”

Source: United Methodist News