Health Cabinet Secretary Nakhumicha S. Wafula on Thursday presided over the launch of Polio vaccination exercise in a concerted effort aimed at combating the resurgence of disease, in line with collaborative partnership involving the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the Ministry.
The development comes days after the Ministry of Health announced the Polio vaccination campaign across ten hotspot counties which has officially kicked off today in Kiambu,ahead of spread into other areas including Kajiado, Garissa, Kitui, Machakos, Tana River among others.
Speaking during the event in Ruiru sub-county, Nakhumicha urged parents to be vigilant and ensure their children get polio vaccine to protect against polio, or poliomyelitis, as part of the series of routine childhood vaccines.
“I have today launched the first round of the Polio vaccination campaign at the Ruiru Sub County Hospital, Kiambu county. The campaign, which will run in the four counties of Kiambu,Kajiado, Nairobi and Garissa, targets about 1.8 million children under the age of five years.” she said
“Polio is a serious disease that can cause paralysis, disability and even loss of life. I urge all Kenyans to be vigilant and ensure all children under the age of five have received the polio jab. Together, let’s protect our future generations” added the CS who further reiterated government’s commitment of supporting county administrations in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
Despite Kenya’s previous declaration as a polio-free nation, recent cases have emerged due to cross-border movements from neighbouring countries, necessitating urgent action.
In a bid to reach unvaccinated individuals and ensure the eradication of polio, the campaign is strategically focusing on high-risk regions and strengthening routine immunization.
UNICEF emphasized that eradicating polio is paramount, and routine immunization is crucial to achieving this goal. The recent developments underscore the importance of addressing vaccination gaps and ensuring every child is protected.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Kenya reported two polio cases from Hagadera refugee camp, the second largest refugee camp in the world and home to over 100, 000 refugees.
Globally, tremendous improvement has been made in Polio eradication since its inception in 1988.