Porous border puts Kenya at risk of polio outbreak

HEALTH & SCIENCE |

Kenya is still at risk of a polio outbreak due its porous border with Somalia.

According to Rotary International, the country is not free from polio because children from Somalia, some who are not vaccinated, are crossing from the horn of Africa nation to refugee camps in northern Kenya.

"We are very close to eradicating the disease in the whole world and thus here in Kenya we need to educate parents on the importance of vaccinating their children due to our neighbouring countries which have some cases," Rotary District Governor Hiral Kantaria said.

Kantaria said the country has recorded eight cases at the Dadaab refugee camp, all being from Somalia.

He said the disease was traced to Nigeria, which is ranked as an endemic country alongside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Somalia has 95 per cent of its children vaccinated against the disease but the war in the country has partly been hampering efforts to eradicate it.

Speaking during a media briefing yesterday, Kantaria said only 98 cases have been detected worldwide, adding that the disease may be completely wiped out by 2018.

He said that type one polio has been successfully kicked out of the world but type two of the disease that can cause paralysis is still a threat to infants.

The organisation will be holding an anti-polio campaign on Saturday.

Joe Otin, also from the Rotary, said: "If one country has polio, then the others are at risk. It's important that we vaccinate all children in Somalia. We have contributed over $1.2 billion towards eliminating polio," Mr Otin said.

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