Kenya News Agency
Sunday September 16, 2018
The Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki administers polio vaccine on 2 year old Amina Hassan when she launched the regional polio vaccine at Garissa University grounds on Friday 14, 2018. Photo by KNA.
Garissa women representative, Ms. Annab Gure has dismissed rumours circulating in the area that that polio jabs being administered to children in counties bordering Somalia and Ethiopia were not safe to children.While launching the campaign, Ms Kariuki yesterday urged IGAD members to closely work together to eradicate polio that continues to be a threat to the promotion of health in the member countries.
Ms. Gure, instead urged mothers to present their children aged below five for the five day vaccination exercise that kicks off on Saturday.
The regional campaign was launched by Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Ms. Sicily Kariuki at the Garissa University grounds.
Addressing mothers at the outskirts of Garissa town, Ms Gure further moved to demystify the notion that the vaccine was part of a family planning campaign.
“It is unfortunate that our people especially in the rural areas still hold to the notion that polio was synonymous with family planning. This is not true,” Gure said.
“I want to appeal to my fellow mothers to take their children under 5 for vaccination because it was safe and meant for the good of our people. Ignore these unfounded rumours about the jab because this is coming from our detractors who are keen to see the exercise fail,” she added.
The women rep said that there is need for all the relevant stakeholders to sustain the campaign.
The launch brought together representatives from WHO, UNICEF and IGAD.
The CS said that despite the gains made globally, countries within the horn of Africa have experienced repeated polio outbreaks.
This she said under nutrition, low population immunity and displacement of persons was partly to blame for repeated polio outbreaks, adding that massive movement across the porous borders in the region presents one of the most significant challenges in stopping polio virus transmission.
Garissa governor, Ali Korane called for joint collaboration from member states, saying that the county’s proximity to Somalia whose health sector collapsed due to persistent insecurity has frustrated efforts to eradicate polio.
“The presence of Al-Shabaab in Somalia who opposed to polio vaccination has also hampered the exercise. This is why it is important that we work towards achieving lasting peace in Somalia,” Korane said.