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Kenya enhance border surveillance in order to curb polio outbreak

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to enhance border surveillance in order to curb outbreaks of polio in the country, officials said on Tuesday.

Ministry of Health Acting Director of Medical Services Francis Kioko told a health forum in Nairobi that Kenya has not reported a single case of indigenous polio since 1984 while last reported case three years ago was imported into the country.

"We are strengthening our monitoring and surveillance of polio virus at border points as some of our neighboring countries have weak health systems that are vulnerable to polio," Kioko said during a polio eradication forum.

"We have also stepped up collaboration with health authorities from neighbouring states in order to curb spread of the infectious virus," he noted. The international community has set a target of a polio free world in 2018.

"This is a very ambitious target given the different challenges that many countries are facing including civil conflicts that disrupt proper functioning of heath systems," Kioko said.

According to the ministry of health, Kenya’s immunization rate for polio currently stands at 80 percent nationally.

"However, there are some counties especially in the arid and semi-arid areas that have immunization rates as low as 50 percent," Kioko said.

He added that these remote regions still face challenges of lack of adequate skilled health personnel and facilities.

He said that the government has now embarked on a strategy to focus health investments on the high-risk regions so that the country achieves universal access to polio immunization.



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