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Kenya to conduct 4th polio campaign

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 2 – The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation has announced a new round of polio vaccination campaign for the western part of the country.

Director of Public Health and Sanitation Director Dr Shanaaz Shariff said the fourth round of vaccinations launched since an outbreak in Uganda last year will be conducted over four days.

He said previous rounds had netted close to 1.2 million children who had gotten the vital dosages.

“The Ministry together with partners plans to conduct a 4th round of polio vaccination campaign where the first three rounds were conducted,” he said.

He said the vaccination which will start on Saturday will be conducted in 22 districts in Nyanza, Western and Rift Valley provinces which are identified as vulnerable areas in Kenya.

The exercise will require health workers to move from house to house administering the polio drop to children less than five years old. He expected that the exercise will meet the target of vaccinating 1.2 million children in the three provinces.

He urged parents and guardians to ensure their children are not left out in the vaccination campaign stressing the importance of taking early measures of combating such childhood diseases.

“I wish to appeal to all parents in the 22 targeted districts to present their children who are aged less that five years for vaccination,” he said.

He also asked parents to take children aged six months to five years to receive vitamin A if they had not received it within the last one month.

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Kenya began vaccination against polio in October last year after confirmed cases in Eastern Uganda.  The disease was confirmed in Turkana in February 2009.

Southern Sudan which is also a neighbouring country to Kenya confirmed cases of the virus in 2009 and Somalia in 2006 which showed high possibilities of spreading the disease to Kenya.

Since last year, the Public Health and Sanitation Ministry has conducted a vigorous campaign to vaccinate children in high risk areas bordering Uganda.

Yellow Fever

Following fears of Yellow Fever in the country, Dr Shariff assured that there were no cases of the disease in Kenyan. He said one girl died from the disease in Kampala but tests on other suspected patients turned out negative.

However he said further research was going on to confirm where she had contracted the disease from.

“The confirmed case was a 13-year-old girl in North of Kampala. They have not been able to know the exact mode of transmission, whether she got it from birds or monkeys,” he said.

Media reports had indicated that there was an outbreak of yellow fever in the country.

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