Polio drops for 84,000 children under five in Tana River

Families get free treated mosquito nets after the vaccination.

In Summary

• Tana River a high-risk area. Vaccine administered in area without health services.

• Campaign targets 84,560 children under five years, ends on Wednesday. 

Tana River county has begun a three-day polio vaccination campaign targeting 84,560 children.

Mosquito nets also are being distributed after a child is vaccinated.

The drive focusses on children under five years. It runs thorugh Wednesday. 

Tana River Health executive Mwanajuma Hirabae said the vaccine was being administered at  Hurara in Tana Delta because the area has no health facility. It lies between Tana River and Kilifi counties,  forcing residents to travel to either Kanagoni  or NGao dispensary.

She said the entire Tana Delta subcounty is among those with few children getting vaccinated.

Due to lack of health facilities, health workers are doing outreach to access all children.

The CEC member said the county plans to construct a dispensary in the area to help residents and pregnant women.

''We are appealing to residents of Hurara and Tana River county in general to come out in large numbers and ensure their children get the vaccine as polio cannot be treated after a person is infected," she said.

Hirbae said that due to flooding and risks of mosquito breeding, they are also distributing nets to mothers who take their children for vaccination.

The Health department is working with the water department to ensure water s tested and treated to prevent waterborne diseases.

''We are working very closely with the Kenya Red Cross and Unicef to deal with the flood disaster," Hirbae said.

An alert has been issued, telling all residents in low-lying flood-prone areas to move to higher ground

At Hurara Primary hundreds of mothers turned out with their children.

They appealed for more mosquito nets and said more health facilities should be constructed.

Francisca Amina, a mother of three, said it's difficult to access health services in distant health facilities. Hurara needs a health facility, everyone said.

(Edited by V. Graham)