The Government plans to carry out a yellow fever risk survey with a view to have the country be declassified by the WHO. Currently, Kenya is among countries in the world classified as a yellow fever risk country—which means that Kenyans travelling out of the country or visitors coming into the country have to be vaccinated against yellow fever.
According to Dr Willies Akhwale, Head of the department of disease control, acting director of public health and sanitation, the survey has been necessitated the lack of any recent history of yellow fever outbreak.
Speaking while opening the second medical and veterinary virus research symposium in Nairobi, Dr Akhwale said Kenya is still on the WHO’s list of yellow fever country based on an outbreak that occurred in 1992.
“But we have not had any other reported outbreak in the recent past. All other suspected yellow fever cases always turn negative,” he said.
He disclosed that officials in the ministry of public health have met over the last month to plan how the survey will be carried out.
Currently, the officials are mapping out areas to be surveyed and the sample population to be targeted. But he revealed that areas to be covered include those areas that were reported to have previous outbreaks and border areas with Uganda, Sudan and Somalia.
Uganda and Sudan are the only countries who have had recent reported outbreaks. In East Africa, Tanzania is the only country classified as yellow fever free by the WHO.
Dr Akhwale disclosed that the ministry of health is working with partners from the Kenya Tourism Board, the Kenya Civil Aviation and the Immigration officials.
He said the exercise is hoped to begin any time between November and February…that is before the country heads to the general election.
WHO is also involved in the exercise and is assisting the country in the planning.
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