alexa Govt spends Sh215m on polio, measles vaccines after biting shortage - Daily Nation

Govt spends Sh215m on polio, measles vaccines after biting shortage

Friday July 19 2019

A child receives polio vaccine

A child receives polio vaccine at Hagadera Refugee Camp in Dadaab, Garissa County. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ELIZABETH MERAB
By ELIZABETH MERAB
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The Ministry of Health on Friday received a consignment of two vaccines that have been missing in many health facilities for the last two months.

Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki received about 2.3 million doses of the polio vaccine and 1.9 million doses of the measles rubella vaccine.

The government spent Sh215 million to obtain the vaccines that the minister said will last four months.

"I assure the public that we have sufficient stocks of vaccines within the country," she added.

Alongside the shortage of the two vaccines at a number of public health facilities, some have reported a lack of the tetanus toxoid vaccines.

HUGE COSTS

Private hospitals have been making big bucks as Kenyans have been paying Sh8,000 to Sh20,000 to have their children given some of the vaccines that have been missing.

These vaccines were procured and fully paid for by the government through an international agreement with the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).

Later in July, CS Kariuki said, the ministry expects to receive more vaccines procured through a joint investment between the government and the Global Alliance for Vaccines Initiative (GAVI).

The government spends more than Sh7 billion annually to provide immunisation services across the country, with at least Sh1.2 billion spent on vaccine procurement.

THE VACCINES

Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease caused by a virus.

The vaccine is given at birth and at six and 10 weeks. The babies also receive an injectable vaccine at 14 weeks.

Based on the Kenya Expanded Programme on Immunisation (Kepi), the vaccine is given through the mouth in three doses and an injection at three and a half months.

The ministry recently carried out a four-day polio vaccination campaign targeting 2.6 million children under the age of five in Mombasa, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana, Nairobi, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera counties.

The measles vaccine is administered at nine and 18 months.