– More than 2,000 Somali refugees arriving in Kenya at the border town of Liboi, have been immunized from polio and measles, in a new joint campaign by IOM and the Government of Kenya.
Working closely with Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, the organization launched on 6 October 2011, a measles and polio vaccination drive for all new arriving Somali migrants up to 29 years of age.
The start of the campaign followed the resumption of humanitarian activities at Liboi, which had been halted temporarily due to security concerns.
The immunization campaign is in response to a number of outbreaks of both measles and polio at various locations in the north-eastern province of Kenya, where thousands of Somalis fleeing from famine and drought, are seeking refuge.
It is also part of IOM’s pre-departure medical assessment of each refugee, which is carried out before the Organization facilitates their transport to Dadaab Camps. And, it supports the Kenyan government’s country-wide measles and polio vaccination efforts.
So far 2,063 persons have been vaccinated at the Liboi point of entry, 18 km from the Kenya/Somali border. Staff of Kenya’s Ministry of Health administer the polio vaccine to children below the age of five years. The measles vaccine is given to children 6 months and older and to adults aged 29 and below.
IOM then gives the refugees temporary vaccination cards to avoid any duplication in the Dadaab Camps, which now house 458,636 refugees as of 6 October.
In Ethiopia, IOM with support from the Ethiopian Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), WHO, UNHCR and Humedica International Aid, conducted training on Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) at the Bokomanyo and Melkedida refugee camps. The training which took place on 5-6 October 2011, involved 41 primary ARRA health workers working in the refugee camps. They were trained on identifying, reporting and treating AWD.
Since the latest security clearance was issued at the beginning of October, IOM has transported 2,252 refugees to Dadaab. In total, IOM has assisted in the transportation of 41,337 refugees to Dadaab since July.
To help cope with the influx, IOM has pitched 7,654 tents at IFO 2 extension camp – an exercise that was completed three days ahead of schedule. The organisation is now planning to set up transitional shelters in phase two of the project.
Meanwhile, IOM has intensified its livelihood support programme aimed at assisting 40,000 pastoralists in the hard hit areas of North Eastern Kenya, to withstand the effects of drought and the influx of the displaced Somalis. The organization continued to provide training on pasture and storage, the importance of feed supplements and conservation to the pastoralists at various locations. On 6 October 2011, training was conducted at Liboi after having been postponed due to the UN security alert. So far 118 pastoralists have been trained out of the targeted 150.