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Kenya is polio free, says Health Minister

BUSINESS
By | Jan 10th 2012 | 2 min read
By | January 10th 2012
BUSINESS

By Peter Orengo

Public Health Minister Ms Beth Mugo has declared the country is free of the polio virus following mass vaccination that saw over 5.7 million children under five years immunized.

"After our intervention with the help of the Unicef and WHO, I can now declare that the country is now free of any polio virus," said Ms Mugo.

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo. Photo: File/Standard

The ministry together with development partners last September conducted four rounds of emergency polio vaccination in 129 district after a boy from Kamagambo area in Rongo district tested positive for the Wild Polio Virus type 1.

The boy sort medical attention at the local Seventh Day Adventist dispensary after sudden onset of paralysis of the right lower limb, raising suspecion of the dreaded disease, last reported in the country 22 years ago.

"After recieving the report of the confirmation of the virus, my ministry took measures to control and prevent further spread of the polio outbreak," said Ms Mugo when releasing a report Tuesday on the performance of the Polio Supplementary Immunization activities.

Some of the emergency activites included collecting specimens from close contacts of the confirmed case for laboratory testing where a healthy younger brother of the confirmed case also tested postive for the Wild Polio Virus type 1.

The minister said teams of epidemiolosts, surveillance officers and laboratory experts were dispatched to help in sensitizing health workers and the communities on polio.

In round one, 1,184,510 children below the age of five were immunized. The figure shot up to 5,124,275 children immunized in the third round. On the last and fourth round over 5.7million children got the polio immunization, a figure the ministry said was 126 per cent, surpassing the intended 87.2 per cent.

The Government said it will do whatever it takes to ensure quality campaigns, reaching out to each and every child, every time.

It will also put up health centers at the boarder entry points to ensure the virus is not imported into the country.

"The vaccines will be available in all health facilities. The key is to eradicate polio through vaccination so that no child need ever know the pain of polio paralysis," said Mugo.

The Ministry reaffirmed its commitment to the Global strategy for Polio Eradication and child survival by ensuring that all children in Kenya are vaccinated against all preventable diseases.

All parents and caregivers in the country are requested to take their children aged less than one year to the nearest health facility and immunize them against preventable diseases. Vaccines are available in all government health facilities free of Charge.

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