Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero has urged residents to ensure their children are immunized against polio in the current campaign. Dr Kidero said immunized children would be given card and those without it will not be allowed to attend class when schools reopen for the second term.
“We will involve all stakeholders to ensure that all children are immunized,” he said when he launched the campaign at Ushirikiano Calvary Church in Kayole estate. Dr Kidero said the goal of kicking out polio can be achieved, noting the Ksh350 million had been dedicated to health by the government.
Dr Kidero advised parents to allow children under the age of five years to be immunised. He said the exercise would be carried out by volunteers who will be absorbed by the county thereafter.
The Ministry of Health yesterday launched the five-day polio vaccination campaign targeting over 4.5 million children below the age of five, in 22 high risk counties. Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu, speaking during the launch in Nairobi, said the campaign will be conducted to ensure all children are protected against the deadly disease.
He said vaccination teams will move from house to house to vaccinate all children under five years and designated areas such as like schools, churches and transit points to ensure that no eligible child is missed. “Those seeking treatment in health facilities for other disease conditions will also receive the vaccine,” Mailu said.
The last polio outbreak in Kenya occurred three years ago and was reported in Rongo, Migori county. Three years prior to the outbreak, a wild polio virus outbreak paralyzed 14 people and killed two others in the present Garissa and Turkana Counties.
The detection of polio cases in Nigeria last year poses a risk to Kenya owing to the significant population movement between the two countries. Polio is the second disease being targeted for total eradication in Kenya, after Small Pox was declared eradicated in 1980.
Due to the concerted global effort to eradicate polio, the cases have decreased significantly by over 99 percent since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases then, to only 35 polio cases in 2016.