Health stakeholders in the Mwingi region of Kitui County today held a meeting at the Mwingi level 4 hospital to discuss the polio vaccination drive that is set to kick off on May 22, 2021.The meeting, chaired by Mwingi sub county public health officer, Joseph Kimwele was meant to kick off preparations for the exercise.
Other attendees included various stakeholders including representatives from the ministry of health, national and county government representatives, the clergy, the media amongst others.
During the meeting the members learnt more on understanding of the polio virus and its vaccine and why it is important.
Other issues discussed was when the drive is to take place and the various roles to be played by the stakeholders to ensure its success.
The exercise aims to reach the largest number of children within the shortest time possible, targeting 95 per cent of the target area as per administrative data. It will also serve as an opportunity to increase the awareness of the global polio eradication activities to stakeholders.
Kimwele disclosed that the drive will take place from May 22 to 26, 2021 in the 13 risk counties; Nairobi, Kiambu, Kilifi, Mombasa, Mandera, Garissa, Kajiado, Machakos, Wajir, Kitui, Taita Taveta, Isiolo and Lamu, and targets a total population of approximately 3.4 million children.
The 13 counties are those in close proximity to the north eastern region, where a case of polio virus was reported earlier in the year.
He also emphasized on the need to ensure that the targeted community understands the difference between the two vaccines; Polio and Covid-19 vaccines to avoid any perceptions of the latter spilling over to the vaccination exercise.
The vaccination will take place in three ways;
- 47 teams to conduct house to house vaccination
- 5 static stations
- Mobile teams to cover vast areas
Apart from the issuance of the vaccine, there will also be an Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance exercise. This refers to early identification of any sudden paralysis without a cause, occurring in children under 15 years.
Kimwele explained that this timely identification is important to help curb spread of the virus through shedding in patients within two weeks of infection.
“Once a case is identified, a stool sample is taken and sent to KEMRI for examinations and results returned within two weeks,” he said.
He called on all stakeholders to play their part in ensuring the exercise goes on smoothly and covers all the targeted regions. Sensitization of the same will be done by public address systems, the local media, and the clergy, circulars provided by MOH, community health volunteers and immunization champions.
While concluding the meeting, Kimwele emphasized that during the campaign, all the Covid – 19 protocols and regulations will be observed.
By Kasera Onyango