2.6 MILLION CHILDREN TARGETED

Polio vaccination to be rolled out on Saturday

The campaign ends on Wednesday July 17

In Summary

• The campaign targets more than 2.6 million children under the age of five years in Mombasa, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana, Nairobi, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera counties.

A child is given a polio jab in a past vaccination campaign
KICKING OUT POLIO: A child is given a polio jab in a past vaccination campaign
Image: FILE

The Health ministry will on Saturday roll out another round of polio vaccination.

The drive will be conducted in partnership with World Health Organization, UNICEF, the CORE Group Polio Project and other partners.

The campaign targets more than 2.6 million children under the age of five in Mombasa, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana, Nairobi, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera counties.

The campaign will end on Wednesday July 17.

Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. An individual can also be infected after taking food, water or substances contaminated with faecal matter that contains the virus.

The virus can attack an infected person's brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis, a condition in which a person cannot move parts of the body.

In cases where the children are not properly immunised, the weakened vaccine virus can change its genetic structure or mutate in their intestines before being removed through human waste as a wild or naturally occurring virus.

The virus is then able to attack non-vaccinated individuals who may come into contact with the stool or respiratory discharges of the infected person like cough sputum, causing polio in the process.

Kenya’s hopes of being certified as a polio-free country were dashed after the discovery of live polio viruses in sewage samples from Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate last year.

On April 6, 2018, Kenya Medical Research Institute personnel found the samples in the area during a routine investigation.

The Health ministry immediately launched a series of vaccination campaigns to fight the virus.

The fight against polio has been greatly affected by influx of refugees from neighbouring countries such as Somalia. The ministry has however beefed up it surveillance to control the disease