Kenya to immunise 9 mn children against polio

Nairobi, April 10 (IANS) The Kenyan government has started a five-day nationwide polio vaccination campaign, targeting 9 million children under the age of five.

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu who launched the exercise on Saturday in Narok town, said the campaign which will run in all 47 counties and aims at protecting the children, the community and create a polio free Kenya, Xinhua news agency reported.

Mailu said coverage for fully immunised children in the country has significantly improved from 56 percent in 2014 through 66 percent in 2015 to the current 76 percent.

“The country has conducted 18 successful polio vaccination campaigns, and has now introduced inactivated polio vaccine in routine immunisation to make it a success,” he said.

The new polio vaccination drive will be a follow up to an earlier one conducted in March in 13 high-risk counties.

“I want to assure the public that the vaccine has been tested by the National Quality Control Laboratory and found to be safe and therefore no cause for alarm,” Mailu said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that globally, a total 359 polio cases were detected in 2014 but the figure dropped to 74 in 2015.

Kenya is signatory to the WHO declaration on achieving polio free status by 2018.

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