NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21- Kenya has launched a 5-day house to house polio vaccination campaign targetting children under 5 years in 13 high risk counties.
The campaign was launched on Friday in Iftin Sub-County Hospital in Garissa County.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said although no cases of children with polio paralysis have been detected in the 13 counties, the ministry fears that without swift action, it will only be a matter of time before it happens.
“Not only does it cause paralysis and permanent disability, but it can also kill as it affects the muscles that aid in breathing. For example, during the 2013 polio outbreak in Garissa County, 14 people were paralyzed by the disease. Another 2 died following complications arising from the disease,” she said, representing Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.
Kagwe said the Ministry has intensified surveillance in all regions with more emphasis on frontier counties along the Kenya-Somalia and Kenya-Ethiopia borders due to cross border transmission of the polio virus.
“This is besides the scaling up of routine immunization activities across the country. To actualize these efforts, the Ministry of Health has activated the National Public Health Emergency Operations Center. Further, the Ministry is working in coordination with critical partners in this response,” he said.
Counties targeted include Mandera, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa, Lamu, Tana River, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kitui, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Nairobi.
The campaign is targeting over 3.4 million children with second phase of vaccination scheduled for June 19th to 23rd.