By AGGREY OMBOKI
Efforts to eradicate polio in the Horn of Africa have received a boost following a meeting on Sunday between four countries from the region in Garissa.
Health ministers and representatives from Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan on Sunday signed a joint statement under auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), further reinforcing their member countries’ support and future actions towards this goal.
The event marked a high-level response to the recent outbreak of vaccine-derived polio virus, in which Somalia has detected and reported seven cases from human contacts since December 2017.
Kenya also confirmed one case in an environmental sample gathered from the sewers of Nairobi’s Eastleigh in March 2018, which resulted in a countrywide polio immunisation campaign that is ongoing.
Somalia is the epicentre of the outbreak, which now has been declared a public health emergency on a Grade 2 scale by the World Health Organisation (WHO).