Shortages of crucial child vaccines

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 08:08 | By
Image used for representation. PHOTO/Pexels

Several health facilities in Kenya are reporting shortages of important children’s vaccines.

Stock-outs had been reported by networks of civil society organisations in six counties more than two weeks ago. More counties are beginning to run out of the basic jabs.

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha confirmed the shortages yesterday, attributing them to an outstanding claim of unpaid funds meant to facilitate the distribution.

“Yes, we have a challenge, but it’s being worked on,” Nakhumicha said at Afya House in Nairobi.

She said she had reached out to her Treasury counterpart Njuguna Ndung’u and Medical Services Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai over the issue.

The vaccines given to newborns under the Kenya Expanded Programme on Immunization (KEPI) are supplied by UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. But the government was yet to pay the money required to facilitate movement of the life-saving baby jabs, thus resulting in stock-outs.

Nakhumicha’s remarks followed reports of a measles outbreak in Garissa county and parts of northern Kenya.

“There are two levels of vaccine storage in the country - at the national and sub-national levels,” she said.

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