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Kenya in determined effort to keep polio virus at bay

Kenya remains determined to keep the country free of the polio virus following a finding of a circulating vaccine-derived polio virus in an environmental water sample in Nairobi last April.
Earlier in the month, the Ministry of Health launched Round Two of its planned polio campaign covering 12 counties at risk and targeting 2.8 under five children. Round Zero of the supplemental Immunization Activity was done in Nairobi only targeting 800,000 children while Round One done in July vaccinated 2.5 million children in the 12 counties.
Other efforts to keep the virus at bay have been escalated including surveillance activities, border watchfulness, awareness-creation and a strengthened routine immunization through a 100-day Rapid Result Initiative intended to increase immunization uptake countrywide. A synchronized regional polio campaign is also planned for September and will involve Kenya and its neighbouring countries – South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.
The virus found in an environmental (sewage water) site in the Eastleigh area has been closely linked to the poliovirus isolated from similar samples collected in  October and November 2017 and January 2018 in Banadir Province, Mogadishu Somalia.
“The emergence of the vaccine-derived polio virus in southern Somalia in 2017 and in the informal settlements of Nairobi in Eastleigh in 2018 is a confirmation that the polio threat is real and the virus continues to circulate undetected in the sub-region”, WHO Representative Dr Rudi Eggers stated.
“It also emphasizes the importance of population movements between the countries and the need to address polio eradication activities as a sub-region, not only in a single country like Kenya.”
At the launch this week in Kitui and around the counties, leaders called for concerted effort to protect children by allowing them to be vaccinated.

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