Kenya this week began a five-day national polio vaccination campaign in areas with the greatest risk of transmission when the United Nations warned that outbreaks in several countries in the Horn of Africa threatened African and global efforts to eradicate the disease.
According to WHO, since the end of 2017, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia have experienced a polio outbreak.
Global polio eradication efforts are trying to ensure polio transmission stops in the remaining endemic countries of the world, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria and in countries affected by polio such as Kenya.
WHO said some countries, especially in Africa, were more vulnerable to polio transmission due to weak public health and immunization systems and travel or trade relations to endemic countries and outbreaks.
Kenya targets 2.6 million children aged 0-59 months in 11 countries with a high risk of infection during the campaign that ended Wednesday.
Children are given an oral polio vaccine that protects them from poliomyelitis, a disease that paralyzes and even kills babies.
Kenya & # 39; dream of free polio & # 39; takes time
"In 2018, Kenya detected a polio virus in a waste sample taken from Kamukunji in Nairobi, and as part of an activity to protect children from viruses and increase population immunity, five rounds of polio vaccination campaigns were carried out in 12 countries," WHO representatives Dr. Iheoma Onuekwusi said during the launch of the campaign in Mombasa.
"And in countries affected by polio such as Kenya, as long as there are districts where wild polio viruses are circulating, each country still risks importing polio viruses. The main challenge that underlies us in the last round of polio eradication is the loss of children many times in vaccine delivery, "warned Dr. Onuekwusi.
Can cause paralysis
Teams of health workers and Community Volunteers conduct exercises at homes, churches, mosques, schools, recreation areas and other congress centers.
Acting director general of Kenya's health, Dr. Wekesa Masasabi said children less than five years were very vulnerable to disease because their immunity had not been fully developed against them.
Dr Masasabi said that for the past six years, Kenya has remained polio-free with cases of imported wild polio virus last reported on July 14, 2013. At present, Afghanistan and Pakistan remain endemic to polio, down from more than 125 countries in 1988.
"During the 2013 outbreak in Garissa District, 14 people were paralyzed and resulted in two deaths. An integrated global effort was made to eradicate polio," the director general of health insisted in a speech read out in his name by Dr. Joel Gondi, technical advisor to the director at the ministry.
Polio is a highly contagious viral disease, spread from person to person and spreads mainly through the faecal-oral route or, more rarely, in contaminated water or food.
It multiplies in the intestine, from where it can attack the nervous system and can cause paralysis. According to WHO, early symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, neck stiffness, and pain in the legs.