Polio Campaign Targeting the Most at Risk Counties

FILE-- In this file photo dated Wednesday April 24, 2013, a Somali child receives a polio vaccine, at the Medina Maternal Child Health center in Mogadishu, Somalia. In an announcement Monday May 5, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) says the spread of polio is an international public health emergency that threatens to infect other countries with the crippling disease and could ultimately unravel the nearly three-decade effort to eradicate it, describing the ongoing polio outbreaks in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as an "extraordinary event" requiring a coordinated international response.(AP Photo/Ben Curtis, FILE)

As you may be aware, Kenya is at a serious risk of Polio disease outbreak following the isolation of Polio virus within our sewerage systems by the Ministry’s environmental surveillance officers. The type of virus identified is an indication that the virus is being continuously shed by individuals who are not showing any symptoms yet but are posing a risk to others by shedding it in our environment unknowingly. It is for this reason that we are conducting a series of vaccination campaigns with the aim of ensuring no virus paralyses any of our vulnerable children aged under the age of 5 years.

The Ministry of Health is planning to hold the next campaign next week from Wednesday 11th July to Sunday 15th July 2018, targeting the most at risk counties: Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo, Meru, Lamu, Kitui and Tana River.

Polio has no cure, but can easily be prevented free of charge via vaccination and repeated campaigns such as during a period like this when we’re at very high risk of spread. Our aim as the Ministry of Health is to use the polio vaccination campaigns to completely prevent the virus from infecting our children by helping them fight off the virus currently living in the environment through repeated vaccination whenever it makes attempts to invade their bodies. This way, the polio virus is left with no child to infect and ends up dying in the environment.

So far we have done well and have had no cause for alarm but the kind of polio virus we have detected this time is an indication of reduced immunity among our children, a good number of whom are unprotected due to not receiving the routine vaccine or not participating during our vaccination campaigns.