In the southern part of Kenya, along the shores of Lake Victoria – Africa’s largest freshwater lake – meet Millicent Anyango, a Community Health Worker (CHW) leading the Arudho Community Unit. She has been at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19 by creating awareness of the vaccines, reaching 225 households.

Millicent and other CHWs in her area have taken on the responsibility of informing the community about the process and benefits of vaccination. Despite such ongoing awareness efforts, there are people who still remain hesitant for various reasons. According to Millicent, lack of knowledge, and negative perceptions of the vaccines largely contribute to vaccine hesitancy and low uptake of vaccination services. “Many people are concerned about possible side-effects or reactions to the vaccines,” she says. “Others complain about inaccessibility of the sites, decrying lack of transport to the vaccination sites.”

Millicent remains committed to ensuring that each member of her community is immunized and protected. “I am fully vaccinated and serve as a good example,” she says.

With little knowledge about COVID-19, Millicent initially did not have the confidence to address her community’s information needs. However, through training by Amref Health Africa in Kenya, she is now fully empowered to promote vaccine awareness.

With the financial support of the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, over 17,095 CHWs in Kenya have been trained on COVID-19 prevention, management, and control, including key information about vaccination.

“Convincing people to take the vaccine is an uphill task, but there is a significant progress – we are almost reaching the desired destination. I will not give up until all my community members are vaccinated,” Millicent confidently says.

“I urge all leaders to ensure we have enough vaccine supplies at the facilities so that our work does not go in vain.”