The government of Uganda has embarked on a three-day door-to-door polio vaccination campaign.

"We are carrying out polio immunization in order to give enough protection to the Ugandan children," Ugandan State Minister for Health and General Duties Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye told The Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

"We want to guard our children against any polio from any country that might come," he said.

The campaign targets about 7.5 million children below the age of five with one dose of trivalent oral polio vaccine.

"This is a door-to-door exercise and we ask Ugandans to open their gates and doors to allow our health workers do their job and immunize our children," said the minister.

He said children could also be immunized in markets, streets and places of worship.

According to Tumwesigye, the campaign is also "part of the plan to eradicate polio from this planet."

The campaign is being supported by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and other health partners at a cost of 14.9 billion shillings.

Uganda is striving to implement its roadmap to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal on the reduction of child mortality by two thirds.

Uganda was certified polio free in October 2006 by the World Health Organization after ten years of not reporting any indigenous cases.

-Imported-

Minister Tumwesigye asserted that children in a total of 41 high-risk districts will be given a second dose of the vaccine in Feb.

The selected districts, he said, have challenges of low performance in routine immunization, suboptimal polio surveillance indicators, an influx of refugees and massive cross border movements.

"We are always worried about South Sudan and Somalia," the minister told AA. "But recently there was an outbreak in Kenya so it can happen in any country."

He underlined the challenge paused by the porous nature of Uganda's borders which enable free movement of people amongst countries.

" Uganda remains at high risk of importing thePolio virus," Tumwesigye noted.

Uganda has experienced outbreaks of the polio virus in Feb. 2009 and Oct. 2010 imported from South Sudan and Kenya respectively.

In July 2011, a Polio case was detected in Kenya and investigations showed that the case was closely linked to the Polio outbreak that occurred that year in Bugiri District in Eastern Uganda.

In 2013 and early 2014, polio cases were again detected and reported in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

"Due to this threat, there is a need to scale up our polio immunization coverage," said Tumwesigye.

Anadolu Agency