Confusion as sect resists anti-polio vaccination

Bondo, Kenya - Confusion reigned at Nyahera village in Nyangoma division as police and medical personnel engaged in a cat and mouse game with a Christian sect opposed to the ongoing anti-polio vaccination.

The Government renewed the campaign following fresh fears of the disease outbreak in Siaya County.

Two brothers said to be members of the "Yeso Nyalo" (Jesus Can) sect gave the police and the medics hectic time as they went round shouting and urging the children to run into the bush and hide from the "intruders".

On Monday, members of the sect chased away health officials, forcing them to return with the police, yesterday.

Comb the thickets

A villager, Walter Awiti, said it took more than 30 minutes for the police to comb the thickets and round up eight of the children from their hideouts before they were eventually immunised.

Bondo Medical Officer of Heath, Julius Oliech, said the Government has been forced to use security officers during the exercise after resistance from the sect.

"We have no choice but to use the police after the sect chased away medical personnel," said Dr Oliech.

Medical officers

Last week, Nyanza Provincial Director of Public Health, Jackson Kioko, said medical officers were immunising children in Bondo, Rarieda and Siaya districts to prevent spread of the viral disease, which has no cure and could lead to paralysis.

Dr Kioko said the campaign was an emergency response to a threat posed by the virus and admitted that the process had been slowed down because they had to move from house to house for comprehensive coverage.

But in Bondo, the immunisation team was chased by the two brothers who turned wild and blocked them from accessing children in Nyahera village, claiming the exercise was against their church’s doctrine.