In Kenya Govt. to immunise 9m children against polio

The new polio vaccination drive would be a follow up to an earlier one conducted in March in 13 high risk counties.

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A newly arrived Somali refugee child receives a polio drop at the Ifo extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, August 1, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoy play A newly arrived Somali refugee child receives a polio drop at the Ifo extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, August 1, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoy
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The Kenyan Government has kicked off a five-day nationwide polio vaccination campaign, targeting nine million children under the age of five.

The Health Cabinet Secretary, Cleopa Mailu, launched the exercise on Saturday in Narok, about 120km southwest of Kenya
Mailu said the campaign which would run in all 47 counties aims at protecting the children, the community and create a polio free Kenya.

He said coverage for fully immunised child in the country had significantly improved from 56 per cent in 2014 through 66 per cent in 2015 to the current 76 per cent.

``The country has conducted 18 successful polio vaccination campaigns, and has now introduced inactivated polio vaccine in routine immunization to make it a success," he added.

The new polio vaccination drive would be a follow up to an earlier one conducted in March in 13 high risk counties.

The East African nation had applied global best practices to deter future polio infections despite the country's vulnerability to the viral disease occasioned by proximity to high burden countries.

Mailu said in order to reach all the eligible children, vaccination teams would move from house to house across the entire country.

He assured the public that the vaccine that would be used had been tested and found to be safe.

``I want to assure the public that the vaccine has been tested by the National Quality Control Laboratory and found to be safe and therefore no cause for alarm," Mailu said.

He added that the vaccine was the same one given in all public, private and faith-based health facilities in Kenya.

The official said the ministry was committed to providing quality health of the highest attainable standard to all Kenyans as enshrined in the Constitution.

The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) said that globally, a total 359 polio cases were detected in 2014 but the figure dropped to 74 in 2015.

Kenya is signatory to the WHO declaration on achieving polio free status by 2018. 

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