A polio vaccination campaign targeting 150,000 children in Kajiado County has been launched today.
During the five day campaign, children under five years will be vaccinated against the crippling and potentially deadly, infectious disease.
Speaking during the launch of the mass immunization exercise in Kajiado town today Governor Joseph Ole Lenku said his government was ready to facilitate efforts towards a healthy society in line with the universal health care coverage outlined in the big four development agenda of the Jubilee administration.
“The bulk of the County’s budget for the next financial year has been allocated to the Health docket to promote a healthy and proactive society,” he said.
Lenku said he was committed to ensure that the citizens of the county access affordable healthcare through such initiatives as the “mbuzi moja Afya moja” campaign which encourages the predominantly pastoralist residents to take up health insurance by selling one goat for an equivalent of a yearly premium per family.
“As your Governor I will continue to take the lead with the support of other partners in making sure that Kajiado moves towards attaining a more healthy society” he added.
Speaking at the same forum, Martin Moshisho, the Deputy Governor asked stakeholders in the health ministry to demystify the polio virus to the residents who still believe it’s a curse.
“Polio is preventable. The vaccine is safe and I urge all the parents and guardians with children under five years of age to bring them out for vaccination,” he advised.
The CECM in charge of Health, Esther Somoire said the vaccination campaign is a supplementary move aimed at boosting the immunity of children adding that
Kajiado County had been earmarked as a high risk county due to its proximity to Nairobi where the first cases of the polio outbreak were reported.
“The campaign will be conducted through house-to-house visits by vaccination teams who will administer Oral Polio Vaccination to children under five,” she said.
Jackson Kioko, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health, said the immunization campaign comes after a recent alert through the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) that brought to the ministry of Health’s attention reports of the polio virus in Nairobi County’s sewerage system.
He added that it is regrettable that there is still a large number of parents in Kenya who hide polio aggrieved children from the eyes of the society adding that such children can still utilize their talents and grow up to be responsible citizens.
“Polio is preventable but if the child has already been struck by the virus do not hide them let them be given vaccines and nurture them to be good citizens of the society,” said Kioko.
Agnes Leshomo a mother who attended the launch was relieved to learn that polio is preventable and thanked the government for its effort to rid the county of the virus.
“In our community there are families who hide their children who have been maimed by polio. It is high time they knew polio is not a curse,” she said
Also present at the launch were the First Lady Edna Lenku, Health Development Partners among other county and National government Leaders.