Saturday, July 21, 2018

Officials target 21,000 Kenyan and Somali children in Lamu Polio vaccination

An anti-polio vaccination campaign launched in Lamu County on Thursday seeks to cover 21,000 children including thousands from Somalia, officials announced. 

Officials said the exercise will cover children in Ras Kamboni and other towns of Somalia close to Kenya's Kiunga to avoid the polio virus spreading from the wartorn nation. 
Medical services and vaccination cover in Somalia which has been at war for about three decades is poor and most of the latest polio discoveries in Kenya have been traced to refugees and migrants entering Kenya from the Horn of Africa nation. 

According to Dr Victor Tole, the director of medical services for Lamu County said on Thursday that children from Somalia are among the 21,000 children targeted in the vaccination effort. He said medical workers have been sent to give the vaccination in far flung areas and targeted towns in Somalia. Tole said that the initiative is to make sure that the virus does not cross over to Kenya through Kiunga as many people who live in Raskiamboni do business in Kiunga, citing that if there is no vaccination done, then the virus will be spread in the area, spreading to other parts of the county due to movement. 
We have undertaken the initiative of extending the polio vaccination to Somalia so as to prevent the virus from spreading to Kenya," said Dr Tole adding that although Lamu is vulnerable to infection because of its proximity to Somalia not a single case of the virus has been detected in the Kenyan border county. 
Lamu is among 11 counties that the ministry of medical services will have polio vaccine done due to its closeness with Somalia. 
"We have placed focus on Somalia since there are no health facilities and if a virus is detected and the children are not vaccinated against the virus, then they cross over to Kenya through the borders, our children whose immune system is low or have not been vaccinated will definitely get infected with the virus," Dr Tole added.
 Areas of Lamu East whose mobility is hampered by impassible road due to numerous Improvised Explosive devices being placed on the road making it dangerous, the ministry together with multiagency team joined hands in taking the service in the whole of Basuba ward. 
He has however warned parents who might try to block their children from getting vaccinated on religion grounds saying that the government is determined to see that the virus is out of Kenya completely. Parents who might block our officers from vaccinating their children are doing injustice to their children, the government is determined to wipe out polio in Kenya and resistance is denying the child a chance to the right to medication Tole added.



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