Govt to immunize 9 mln children against polio
11 April 2016, 10:34
Nairobi - The government has kicked off a five-day nationwide polio vaccination campaign, targeting 9 million children under the age of five.
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu who launched the exercise on Saturday in Narok, about 120km southwest of Kenya said the campaign which will run in all 47 counties and aims at protecting the children, the community and create a polio free Kenya.
Mailu said coverage for fully immunized child in the country has significantly improved from 56 percent in 2014 through 66 percent in 2015 to the current 76 percent.
"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 said.
The new polio vaccination drive will be a follow up to an earlier one conducted in March in thirteen high risk counties.
The East African nation has 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.
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Mailu said in order to reach all the eligible children, vaccination teams will be moving from house to house across the entire country.
The CS assured the public that the vaccine that will be used during the vaccination campaign has been tested by the National Quality Control Laboratory and found to be safe and therefore to cause for alarm.
"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 is the same one that is given in all public, private and faith-based health facilities in Kenya.
The official said his ministry is fully committed to provide quality health of the highest attainable standard for all Kenyans as enshrined in the Constitution.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) says 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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