Public Issue

LDS Church urges all Kenyans to Support Government Efforts in Polio Vaccination Campaign

The Church calls on religious leaders to support the efforts of Kenya's Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Inter-religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) in the Polio Vaccination Campaign of June 2014.

Kenya’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Inter-religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) have issued a statement calling on all religious leaders and their congregations to be part of the ongoing fight against polio in Kenya. Polio disease usually affects children and adults who have not been vaccinated.

The MOH and IRCK have therefore urged religious leaders to insist on parents and guardians of children below five years to ensure they are vaccinated against polio in the national Polio Vaccination Campaign taking place between Saturday 21th to Wednesday 26th June 2014. A campaign targeting the four counties of Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir and Garissa will be done a week earlier to synchronize efforts with the neighboring countries that are also doing it that week. The goal is to expand their reach, particularly to the pastoralist communities who live in those bordering counties. The government has also urged religious leaders to publicize this in all religious meetings and gatherings.  There have been reports that a number of groups, including some religions groups, are resistant to such immunization campaigns mainly due to of a lack of understanding. The polio vaccine is safe and available free of charge during this campaign. Interfaith networks such as IRCK have been urged to support advocacy sessions with any resistant groups.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its leadership in Kenya fully support the efforts of the government to eradicate polio in Kenya. Immunization is one of the Key Initiatives of Latter-day Saints Charities (the humanitarian arm of the Church). Over the years, LDS Charities has partnered with the government and other organizations to conduct these immunizations and other projects across the country. The Church has also encouraged its clergy and congregations to participate in this effort.

Church leaders have always taken the initiative to attend immunization launching events in the past. Gordon Ondiek, who is one of the assistants to Nairobi Stake President Jadmaire Ndivo, the highest ecclesiastical leader in Nairobi Stake (similar to a diocese), sits on a national planning committee for immunizations. Church members have also in the past been asked to distribute fliers to neighbors encouraging them to ensure their children are immunized. Church publications, websites and social media platforms have also been used in the past to publicize and report on the success of these campaigns. During the upcoming campaign, the official immunizations advert banners will be placed on the Kenya Mormon Website as well as its facebook page.

The Church therefore calls on other religious leaders and their congregations to support the efforts of Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Inter-religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) in eradicating polio in Kenya.

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