Kenya in second polio immunisation drive

April 22, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 22 – The second round of a door to door polio vaccination campaign will kick off in Nairobi, Central and Rift Valley Provinces on Saturday, officials have revealed.

The government urged parents on Wednesday to take their children below the age of five for free polio immunisation, when the second round of the nationwide campaign begins.

Head of the Children’s Division at the Ministry of Public Health Ann Wamae said that children should go for immunisation irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated previously.

“In the first round we managed to reach 89 percent of the coverage that we were expecting, we immunised 1,971,510 children under five.”

“Of course there is that 11 percent that is left out. We would like to reach this 100 percent. We now don’t want to leave any child behind and we will not get these children unless there parents bring them to us,” she said.

The campaign, which will cover 42 districts in the country, will be conducted between April 25 and April 29 as a follow up to a similar exercise that took place in March.

It follows a fresh scare of a polio outbreak in the country after two cases of wild polio virus type 1 were confirmed in Lokichoggio last month.

The door to door exercise targets to reach two million children in the country and will be conducted simultaneously with Uganda, Ethiopia and Southern Sudan, which are also at risk of an outbreak of the disease.

“The total of the money that we are going to use for this campaign is about Sh120 million but this is not a very big cost considering the effects of polio and what the country would lose,” said Ms Wamae.

Nairobi, Central and Rift Valley provinces have been ranked as the highest at risk.

Polio is an infectious disease that mainly strikes children under five. It is spread primarily by the faeces of an infected person getting into the food chain. It causes paralysis and can be fatal.

The disease may have spread from South Sudan, where a polio outbreak occurred in early January 2009.

Many Kenyan children were not immunised due to the post election violence in early 2008, which left more than 1,000 people dead and 600,000 people displaced from their homes. Many have still not returned home.


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