Date: 17 January 2017 23:41
Kenya is on the verge of being declared a polio free country in 2018 if it fails to record polio cases this year.
Speaking while launching a five-day polio vaccination campaign for 15 counties in Isiolo on Tuesday, Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko said the country will have a polio free status if it will not report any case of polio by the end of 2017.
The Ministry of Health begins a polio vaccination campaign Wednesday, which will run until January 22 and is targeting three million children under the age of five.
Dr Kioko, who represented Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu, said the government has embarked on conducting a vaccination campaign to boost immunity, following recent cases of polio that were reported in Nigeria.
The ministry says no cases have been detected in the country since 2013.
At least 14 cases of polio were reported in Garissa County in 2013.
The vaccination will be carried out in Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Lamu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Busia and Uasin Gishu counties.
The health official added that the arid and semi-arid regions were selected among 47 counties for the vaccination due to their vastness and high number of unreached children.
"The counties are at risk of a polio outbreak. We have been forced to undertake precautions in those counties following cases that were reported in Nigeria," said Dr Kioko.
During the launch, he was accompanied by Isiolo Governor Godana Doyo and officials from World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.
He said Kenya is among countries in the world set to eradicate polio by 2018.
Mobile teams will conduct the five-day door-to-door campaign in the 15 counties to ensure all children receive the polio vaccine.
Governor Doyo asked parents in the counties said to be having low coverage to take their children for vaccination.