Jacqueline Osido

Rarieda subcounty juts out into Lake Victoria on the western border of Kenya. Villages line the many rivers and dirt paths that cut across the region, making it difficult to easily travel from village to village. However, a small team of nurses and health workers are battling time, transportation, strikes and stigma to protect the 167,239 people of Rarieda with COVID-19 vaccines.

Jacqueline Osido, 42, is a sub-county public health nurse manager and immunization logistician who has been working in health services for more than 20 years. Osido manages a team that vaccinated 8,482 people in Rarieda between May and October 2021, administering 6,950 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines and 3,780 doses of Moderna vaccines.

“There have been many challenges,” said Osido.


“We bring the vaccines to our communities by boats, motorbikes, and even on foot when the roads are not passable by vehicle, and when you have a vaccine that relies on remaining cold in a region near the equator, you have to plan very strategically about how many vaccines to take for the day’s vaccination campaign so that no vaccines would be wasted.”

However, nothing compared to the determination Osido demonstrated when health care workers in her region went on strike for three months.

“People would say to me, ‘Jacqueline, how are you going to keep sending out vaccination schedules and expect workers to help you administer vaccines when no one is getting paid?’ but I knew that there was a greater need at hand; valuable vaccines needed to be used before they expired,” she said. 

But her team came through. During the strike, Osido and her team remained committed to the health of their communities even at the expense of Osido personally paying for her team’s transportation to vaccination sites.

“You just soldier on when times are tough because it is often during the toughest times that you find new strength and innovation,” said Osido. “When you reach a community and get them vaccinated, it energizes you to keep going. I send out daily bulletins to the team showing the progress that we are making and that motivates us.”

Osido’s love for her work has only intensified during this pandemic. She has felt the impact of COVID-19 personally, losing loved ones to the disease, and it reminded her of “the need for what I’m doing,” she said.

As she looks to the future, she hopes to become a lecturer at a nursing university so that she can “inspire many young people to be good nurses, to be better nurses than me so that they can care for those who need their support,” she said. 

Osido’s and other nurse managers’ COVID-19 vaccine distribution work across Kenya is supported by The Task Force’s COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Program (CoVIP) which provides funding and technical guidance to 35+ low- and middle-income countries for the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines.

All photos courtesy of Jacqueline Osido.

All photos courtesy of Jacqueline Osido.

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