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Kitui County administers the second phase of polio vaccination

Kitui County targets to vaccinate over 175, 000 children under five years old against polio in the second phase of emergency polio vaccination.

Speaking to KNA on Tuesday, the Kitui County Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Logistician Henry Muinde said the emergency polio vaccination campaign is critical in safeguarding the well-being of the targeted population.

Kitui Central Assistant County Commissioner William Maingi (left) launching second phase of emergency polio vaccination at Kitui County Referral Hospital. Photo by Cosmus Kamau

“All children of five years and below are expected to be availed for immunization,” said Mr. Muinde as he appealed to parents and care givers to present the children for immunization.

He said that micro planning at Sub-county level, training of vaccinators and engagement of teams are some of the preparations undertaken to prepare for the exercise and are ongoing.

In the first phase conducted on May 22 to May 26, 2021 Muinde said that every Sub-county had at least five static vaccination centers and door to door vaccination teams.

The teams visited homes, worshipping places like churches and mosques and ECDE classes, whereby 169,263 children were vaccinated, attaining 96.4 per cent of the set target of 175, 425 children.

“Although the completed exercise was a success, it was characterized by challenges like some gated homes were closed, inadequate teams and reluctance of some clans to be vaccinated due to their faith,” he added.

“The Ministry of Health is taking urgent action to stop polio in its tracks and save children’s lives. History shows that outbreaks like this can be stopped quickly with two to three rounds of supplementary immunization campaigns,” noted the health official.

The polio virus is highly contagious and can cause paralysis and lifelong disability, or even death. “Polio poses a damaging and life-long risk to children. Our plan is to achieve and sustain a polio-free county and vaccination is one of our core eradication strategies,” said Muinde.

The Ministry of Health and authorities in the high-risk counties, are urging communities to report any child under the age of 15 who develops sudden weaknesses in their hands and/or legs.

Kenya remains at risk of polio due to low immunization coverage resulting from Covid-19 interruptions, porous borders with high-risk countries and high population movements.

The polio campaign in Kitui County runs from July 17 to July 22, 2021.

By Diana Syong’ombe and Nicholas Mutisya

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