The East African Standard (Nairobi)
May 3, 2006
A polio outbreak in Somalia could soon reach Kenya if the situation is not contained urgently, health officials have warned.
Consequently, representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) of Somalia have made an appeal of US$11 million to maintain and implement the vaccination campaign this year.
Unicef Somalia representative Christian Balsev-Olesen warned that the disease has been detected in Ethiopia and could rapidly spread into Kenya and has to be contained to avoid its spread.
"We need the funds to enable us maintain and implement sensitive and quality active surveillance to detect any ongoing virus circulation," said Dr Abdulaziz Sheik Yusuf, Minister of Health Somalia.
He expressed fears that the outbreak of the disease could easily spread due to Somalia's integrated administrative and health systems.
"Movement of the population from one place to another is what is making us worry for our neighbors," added Abdulaziz.
Somalia, the only country in the world with a geographically expanding outbreak, currently poses a significant threat to the goal of eradicating polio in the Horn of Africa.