3.4 MILLION TARGETED

Second round of polio vaccination begins in 13 high-risk counties

At least 2.6 million children were vaccinated against the disease in the first phase.

In Summary

•The exercise is expected to go on till next week Wednesday).

•The campaign targets about 3.4 million children in 13 at risk counties.

Polio ambassador Harold Kipchumba leads in the administration of doses during the first round of the campaign in Garissa county
Polio ambassador Harold Kipchumba leads in the administration of doses during the first round of the campaign in Garissa county
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Residents of 13 polio high risk counties have been urged to bring their children below five years for vaccination.

The Health ministry has rolled out the second phase of the vaccination campaign after a successful first round conducted in May.

The campaign that starts today will be conducted in Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kitui, Lamu, Machakos, Mandera, Mombasa, Nairobi, Tana River and Wajir counties.

The exercise is expected to go on till next week Wednesday.

The campaign targets about 3.4 million children in the 13 at risk counties.

“The exercise will be conducted through house-to-house visits by vaccination teams, in an exercise that will be conducted in strict conformity with Covid-19 health protocols,” the ministry said in a statement.

“At least 2.6 million children were vaccinated against polio in the first phase of the campaign,” the ministry added.

The first drive was conducted from May 22 to 26.

The campaign was launched after the ministry confirmed six cases of polio in the country in February in Garissa and Mombasa counties.

Three of the cases were picked from healthy children from Somalia who had crossed over to Garissa while the other three were picked from the environment, one in the sewage in Garissa and two in Mombasa.

Polio or poliomyelitis is a disabling life threatening disease caused by poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis.

“What we see in the country a few times are outbreaks that come from our neighbouring countries, so this year what we are responding to are cases we have detected from children who came from Somalia and because of that, as a requirement from WHO, we have to respond,” Emmanuel Okunga said.

He is the head of disease surveillance and epidemic response at the Health ministry.

The World Health Organisation says even though tremendous progress has been made towards eradication of the disease and reduction of cases by 99 per cent in the last 30 years, the last steps in ending the disease are proving more difficult.

“The backbone of polio eradication still remains routine immunisation and the supplementary immunisation activities that we have with polio go to reinforce the operations of the routine immunisation programme that we are running to protect ourselves to totally eradicate polio,” head of national vaccines and immunisation programme Collins Tabu said.

Edited by Henry Makori