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50,000 infants targeted in fresh polio campaign in Tana River 

The Ministry of Health is targeting to reach 50,767 infants in Tana River County in a fresh mass polio vaccination campaign starting  on Saturday.

The County Health Promotion Officer (CHPO), Ndegwa  Zuma said 11,595 of the targeted group were children aged less than one year while the rest were aged between one and five years.

Zuma said this at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting held at the Tana River Sub County Administrator’s office in Hola Town on Wednesday.

He called on parents to avail their children for the vaccination exercise irrespective of whether or not they had been immunized, saying the campaign aimed at ensuring that all children under five years were reached.

“The repeated vaccination doses are aimed at strengthening the children’s immunity, hence the need for parents to cooperate with health workers who will be involved in the door to door campaign from Saturday to Wednesday,” he said.

He said routine immunization coverage in the county was extremely low (at 59.6 percent) due to long distances from health facilities and at times lack of the vaccines.

Zuma said Tana River County was among the counties identified as high risk due to its proximity with Somalia, where polio immunization is extremely low due to political instability.

The health promotion officer said the county achieved a 96 percent coverage in the January 2017 mass immunization campaign against the national average of 80 percent.

He however, lamented that social mobilization and awareness campaigns were rated at 63 percent and called on stakeholders to assist in awareness creation so that all targeted children could be reached.

He dispelled fears that the vaccine, which is administered orally, was laced with family planning drugs.

By  Emmanuel  Masha

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