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WHO worried by increase in Polio cases in Kenya

26 May 2014, 11:26

Nairobi - Kenya is among the countries worst affected by polio, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said as it declared the spread of the disease an international public health emergency.

According to the WHO report, Kenya is among the ten countries currently reporting evidence that the virus, which can cause paralysis, is in circulation.

While experts are concerned that polio is re-emerging in countries previously free of the disease, such as Syria, Somalia and Iraq, it is circulating in Afghanistan and Equatorial Guinea as well as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

WHO also added that countries torn by conflict such as Ukraine, Sudan and the Central African Republic are also susceptible to polio re-infection.

The declaration, it said, is aimed at stemming its noticeable growth in the next few months as well as to actualize the nearly three-decade effort to eradicate the crippling disease.

“Until it is eradicated, polio will continue to spread internationally, find and paralyze susceptible kids,” Dr Bruce Aylward, who leads the world body’s polio efforts, said.

The declaration comes after another WHO report named Kenya as among the ten countries in the world that carry the most burden of maternal deaths.

The report categorized Kenya together with other nine countries which account for 60 percent of all maternal deaths.

It stated that an estimated 289 000 women died in 2013 due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth, down from 523 000 in 1990.

– CAJ News

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