Monday August 13, 2018
Residents of Mandera County have hailed the on-going polio
vaccination campaign in the country and vowed to mobilise all mothers in
the area to surrender their babies for the exercise.
The anti-polio vaccination exercise aims at reaching over 200,000
children under the age of five years in the semi arid region which
borders Somalia and Ethiopia.
Mr. Abdi Hussein Gedo a resident of Elwak in Mandera South Sub County
hailed the exercise saying it will save several children from being
paralysed in the limbs.
He said the region faces challenges of contracting cross border diseases from neighbouring Somalia and Ethiopia.
Mr. Gedo who spoke to KNA in Elwak town said devolution has helped
the region achieve its health needs as the function now lies under the
“The county government officials can now prioritise needs to deal with areas which were neglected before devolution, “ he said.
Mandera County Health Executive (CEC) Ahmed Sheikh last week said
the anti-polio campaign being conducted in 11 other counties will help
improve disease resistance.
“We have a target and we shall be moving from house to house to
ensure every child under five years is vaccinated since enough public
awareness has been done,” he said.
According to Mr Sheikh, despite Mandera facing challenges including
insecurity and the pastoral nature of the lives of residents, the public
health team is determined to reach their target.
“We have been failing in the past campaigns because a third of
Mandera is insecure, cross-border movement of our people and influx of
pastoralists coming in from the neighbouring countries,” he said.
Sheikh who spoke to KNA on phone blamed free cross-border movement
and poor health infrastructure in Somalia and Ethiopia, which neighbour
Mandera, for disease outbreaks in the region.
“These areas lack health interventions and this has always rendered us vulnerable leading to outbreaks in the past,” he said.
He cited Chikungunya, cholera and dengue fever outbreaks as diseases “imported” from the neighbouring countries.
“We are challenged by these cross-border issues and as a county we
cannot strengthen the fragile health system in Somalia,” he said.
He said Mandera is always bearing the burden of the excesses from the two countries.
But despite the challenges, Mandera is prepared to face the
challenges, he said, adding that security arrangements have been put in
place to reach areas marked insecure for the polio vaccination.
The county health official said Mandera retained zero resistance to polio due to poor past immunisation campaigns.
“We can only talk of resistance once we have fully immunised
ourselves but since we are still having segments of our people not
immunised and the high influx of foreigners, then we have no
resistance,” he said.
Apart from Mandera, the campaign will also be conducted in 11 other
counties, namely Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kiambu, Kitui, Machakos,
Lamu, Meru, Nairobi, Tana River and Wajir.