Bernard Gitau @benagitau
More than 2.8 million children under the age of five will be vaccinated against polio during the upcoming joint Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) states vaccination campaign.
The campaign which will be launched today in Garissa by ministers from the Igad states, targets the Horn of Africa.
According to Health Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has recommended two rounds of synchronised polio vaccination campaigns in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
“The vaccination has been necessitated by the recent isolation of more circulating vaccine-derived Polio viruses in Somalia, and particularly in areas close to Kenya-Somalia-Ethiopia border,” said Kariuki.
The first round of the campaigns in Kenya is scheduled to run from September 15 to 19. The subsequent round will take place next month.
In Kenya, the two planned rounds will target 12 high-risk counties which participated in July and August rounds. The high-risk counties include; Nairobi, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Lamu, Tana River, Meru, Kitui, Machakos, Isiolo, Kiambu and Kajiado.
Cumulatively, 2,827,089 children in Kenya below five years of age will be targeted during the campaign. The other two target countries will also be conducting their campaigns within the same period. The CS also said the polio campaign is part of the implementation of the directive from President Uhuru Kenyatta to accelerate immunisation coverage for all the routine antigens in Kenya.
“I am pleased to welcome the ministers of Health from the Igad member states to a joint launch of a polio campaign for the Horn of Africa that is scheduled for Garissa Town on Friday 14,” she said.
She applauded the efforts of partners, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and Unicef for supporting this noble activity.