I was to meet a friend on Wednesday this week for a coffee date- the damage was on her but poor me I could not honour the date as I worked late preparing activations, mentions and promos for the coming polio campaign. Around 8 radio stations under Kenya Broadcasting Corporation were to start airing the activations and ads starting 5am on Thursday. As a Creative Producer, you have to please the client at all times and generate revenue for the corporation as well so; working late is part of me just like my hair cut hehehe!
So, on Thursday I managed to do lunch with my girl friend but now the damage was on me as a compensation for the previous day’s aborted coffee date. As a self-appointed maternal and children health advocate, I couldn’t waste an opportunity to ask my friend to ensure that her little princess gets the polio drop which will be administered from 21st to 25th June.
Good friends can be mean with their words at time huh! She looked me straight in the eye and said ‘Lourdes, polio drop again! Are you sure you have your facts right? Aaaaaai kwani kuna outbreak! (is there another outbreak?) ooops! Too many questions and accusations! Thank God I was through with my chicken wings.
Her reaction never surprised me because I receive such comments when I mobilize my friends to have their under 5 children get vaccinated.
You may think that these polio vaccines are way too many for your little one but my friend, just they way you travel everyday to and from work is the same way wild polio virus travel! Yes, the polio virus is always on the go and this puts your little one in danger!
Since May 2013, the Ministry of Health has been confirming cases of Wild Polio Virus type1. Also, with ongoing polio outbreaks in some of our neighboring countries and low immunization coverage in some counties puts everyone in Kenya is at risk of getting polio.
Having successive vaccination campaigns at interval of 4 weeks therefore is a strategy that has been employed by the Ministry of Health and partners to rapidly interrupt any transmission of wild polio virus and to boost population immunity because as long as a single child remains infected, all the children in the country are at risk of contracting polio.
The effects of polio cannot be over emphasized – polio causes paralysis for life usually in the arms and/or legs. It may also cause death due to breathing difficulties.
There is no cure for polio. Polio can only be prevented by immunization with Oral Polio vaccine (OPV). Polio vaccine is given routinely to all children under 5 years, starting at birth and then at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks; and additional polio doses given many times during Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIAs) popularly called polio campaigns, offers additional protection to our children and all other people. It can also be given to, older children and even to adults in case of a polio outbreak.
From tomorrow, 21st to Wednesday 25th June, health workers(vaccinators) will be moving from house to house to administer the vaccine for free. The reason for doing house to house visit is to reach everyone including the sick,pregnant mothers and people with disabilities who may not walk to the health facility.
So mama or mama figure, ensure your child is vaccinated so that he/she is protected from this disabling disease. By the way, the vaccine is VERY safe for all children.
Together let’s immunize for a polio free Kenya!!!