Over 2.6m children targeted in polio vaccine campaign
The Ministry of Health in partnership with Unicef and Core Group Polio Project have rolled out a polio campaign targeting 11 counties which will see about 2,635,714 children below five years get the jab.
The vaccine national launch set to begin today until December 4 will be carried out in Isiolo,Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Isiolo, Kilifi, Mombasa and Nairobi counties most of which border neighbouring countries of South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.
Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday during an immunisation and sensitisation forum on polio, Ministry of Health diseases surveillance and epidemics response head of department Dr David Langat said although Kenya has been polio-free since 2005, the country has experienced several outbreaks due to importations through the porous borders.
“Kenya through the Ministry of Health and our core partners in polio eradication will kick off the campaign from November 29 to December 4. We will also liaise with the neighbouring countries to carry out a simultaneous vaccination,” said Langat.
“Ongoing outbreak in the Horn of Africa (HOA) increases the risk of importation into the country,” he added.
Langat said high population movement of immigrants and refugees across the countries with unknown history of vaccination status have been addressed.
He said trainings focused on special populations that include nomads, pastoralists, refugees, gated communities, asylum seekers, street families and informal settlements have to be conducted.
“We work in border areas to ensure that anyone coming in and going out is well covered,” said Core Group Polio Project director Ahmed Arale.
Unicef Kenya Communication for Development specialist Jayne Kariuki, said Kenya is on the right path in eliminating polio by reaching every child no matter where he or she is and give voices to those who are often not heard.
“We normally do a synchronised campaign in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia so that movement is controlled,” she said. - KNA