Religious sect slams brakes on anti-polio drive

Nairobi, Kenya - The polio vaccination campaign ran into trouble in Keringet Division of Molo District when some parents refused to let their children get the dose, saying it was against their religious beliefs.

On Wednesday, the medical officer in charge of Molo District hospital, Dr Magdalene Itumbi, sought the help of the Administration Police as members of a religious sect had locked their children in their houses and barred health personnel from carrying out the door-to-door immunisation.

Some 45,000 children have been immunised against polio in the last three days in other parts of the district.

The campaign, being conducted by the government and the World Health Organisation, has 86 teams comprising health workers, volunteers and community members and aims to immunise 17,200 children a day.

Speaking at Keringet trading centre, Dr Itumbi said the anti-polio drive had been stepped up after seven cases were reported in Turkana District in February.

Kenya has been polio-free since 1984 but the disease resurfaced two years ago from Somalia.