Synchronized polio vaccination launch. September 14, 2018, Garissa (KENYA)

Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki administering polio vaccination to a child during a synchronized polio exerciser with Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia at Garissa University today.

Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki signing a communique during a synchronized polio exercise with Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia at Garissa University today.



















A synchronized polio vaccination campaign for the Horn of Africa was today launched in Garissa County in an effort to  eradicate the disease.
The campaign culminated into the signing of a communique between the Minister’s of Health from the Republic of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.
During the event Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki  said the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Health and partners plans to reach over 2.8 children below five years of age in 12 high risk counties with the life-saving vaccine from 15th to 19th September 2018.
The CS advised the community to ensure all children are vaccinated and dispelled fears that the vaccine is laced with family planning doses.
‘’You should ignore those rumor mongers bent to sabotage the government’s efforts and take your children below five years for immunization to protect them from this crippling and even killer disease. I assure you that the vaccine used in this exercise has undergone a rigorous test internationally and locally and proven to be safe,’’ the CS advised.
Under the National Vaccines and Immunization Program Rapid Results Initiative, the Ministry of Health targets to reduce the numbers of unvaccinated children aged below 1 year from 500,000 to less than 100,000 within 100 days by the end of October 2018.
The CS revealed that by day 37 of the RRI, 279,998 (56%) children have been vaccinated including 6,582 of the targeted 9,936 children in Garissa County translating to a 66% coverage for the county.
She stressed that the noble idea of working together as a region for a common cause to eradicate Polio will strengthen the collaboration in the health sector.
She acknowledged that despite the gains made massive movement across porous borders in the region presents one of the most significant challenges to stopping Polio virus transmission.
“Moreover, insecurity and constant conflict in our region resulting in displacement of large populations continues to be a major contributing factor to the spread of the virus, and the risk of continued transmission,” she said.
During the 2013 Polio outbreak in Garissa County, 14 people were paralyzed by polio and resulted into two deaths. At the same period a similar polio outbreak was occurring in Somalia with 105 confirmed cases.
The ongoing Polio outbreak has been declared a regional public health emergency of international concern in line with the International Health Regulations (2005) with a call for Governments within the IGAD region to initiate cross-border Polio vaccination campaigns aimed at identifying high risk populations at border points, mitigating the risk of importation and transmission, enhancing surveillance and synchronizing prevention activities.
The CS appealed to member states of Somalia and Ethiopia to accelerate plans for the synchronized Polio vaccination campaigns so that the region can reap the benefits of a coordinated approach.