Saturday, 19 November 2011

Polio sparks alert

The terrible toll polio takes on so many lives has been forgotten by people living in the developed world where the immunization programme, strictly enforced, has eradicated it from memory.
But those of us old enough will have known someone from their primary schooldays who had suffered polio -  necessitating weeks or months encased in an "iron lung" to do their breathing for them, and then returning to school, if lucky enough to survive, disabled by deformed limbs, at best with calipers and built up shoes.
It's a killing and crippling disease.
In Kenya, the Government thought it, too, had rid its country of its scourge. But recent cases, the first for 11 years, have brought right to the forefront and sparked a major nationwide alert.
Uncle Billy, our social worker, tells me: "There is a great national scare about polio getting back to incapacitate the under 5's...a disease assumed eradicated by the year 2000, after rigourous campaigns over the many years dubbed as" Kick polio out of Africa!"
"That was short lived then.
"From Monday the medics  have been doing a door-to-door campaign  administering  the OPV (oral polio vaccine) which is administered as two drops in the mouth.
"Baby Elizabeth just settled after having a nice first weekend at home got the first honors. All the under 5's even the pupils from ouutside who come into our school got it and so did our own  little baby brigade of David and company.
"Aunty DawnHeather was there to help out with the exercise. We are really keen ensure a healthy upbringing for our children and it is our wish to comply to all interventions that are geared towards the kids best interests. 
"That's why we are here, exclusively , and for one reason only ... for our kids."