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280,000 children exposed to polio annually - Report

By Abigael Sum | Updated Fri, October 25th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Abigael Sum

Kenya: Annually, over 280,000 children in Kenya are exposed to a crippled future, officials have warned.

These children face a high risk of being infected with polio as they are not immunised since they come from hard to reach areas.

Head of Disease Surveillance and Response in the Ministry of Health, Dr Ian Njeru, said even though the ministry is working to reduce this number, their way of life and insecurity remain the biggest obstacle.

“The whole of northern Kenya and the north-eastern part of the country are hard to reach because most of those who live there are nomadic, making it difficult to monitor immunisation of children.

Insecurity

The insecurity experienced in that part of the country also makes the area inaccessible to health workers who fear for their lives and so most children end up not being immunised against polio,” said Njeru.

Speaking yesterday during events to mark World Polio Day, Njeru noted that this year’s immunisation rate has dropped by 3 per cent compared to last year.

He attributed this to the elections and devolution of health services.