Nearly three million children under five years in 15 counties will next week be vaccinated against polio. The government has said that the move is aimed at
keeping the viral infection outside the Kenyan borders. The five-day oral vaccination campaign will begin on Wednesday and end on Sunday. It will be launched at the Isiolo County Referral Hospital.
This comes following a polio risk analysis conducted every three months by the Ministry of Health, which identified Nairobi, Lamu, Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu, Turkana, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Bungoma and Busia as “high-risk counties”. The head of Disease Surveillance at the Ministry of Health, Dr Daniel Langat, said the vaccination had been prompted by an ongoing polio outbreak within Africa – Nigeria in August 2016 – that he says potentially exposes Kenya to a possible polio outbreak. “Our analysis looked at the performance of routine immunisation in counties as well as the proximity of certain counties to areas with importation of previous polio cases such as in North Eastern. Further, we looked at the movement of population and that is why a place like Nairobi is on the list,” Dr Langat told the Nation on Wednesday. Further, the ministry said nearly half a million children under five miss out in such vaccination drives, exposing them to preventable diseases. It also puts their communities and peers at risk of getting the infections.