The Ministry of Health has launched a five-day polio vaccination campaign starting tomorrow following detection of the virus amid a drop in immunisation coverage.
The door- to- door exercise will target children under five years who will be administered the oral polio vaccine (OPV).
Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reported that they found traces of the virus in sewage samples collected in Eastleigh in March.
This comes amid revelations that the five-month nurses’ strike last year cut the national immunisation coverage to a 15-year low of 63 per cent, exposing children below one year to diseases such as polio, pneumonia and tuberculosis.
In a statement, Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko said the ministry will target 800,000 children this month with follow up in the coming months. “Subsequent rounds will be conducted in high risk counties in June and July to ensure maximum protection,” he said.
The 63 per cent is the lowest coverage since 2005 when it stood at the same level, the share has been rising until 2012.
“The ministry has further intensified surveillance activities to detect any additional circulation of poliovirus since the positive sewerage sample points to circulation of the virus within the environment and this places everyone at risk of contracting polio,” said Dr Kioko.
The ministry has warned that the virus, known as circulating vaccine-derived polio virus type 2, can cause paralysis in un-immunised people.
Kenya has been free of wild poliovirus since 2014.