How Government’s Triviality has Affected Kenyan Children

A child is given a dose of polio vaccine. Photo Credits: Aljazeera.

Thousands, if not millions of Kenyan Children might have missed opportunities for vaccination while some have ended up unvaccinated. On the start of June 2024, it was reported that the country faced vaccine shortages due to various factors:

      1. Financing ignorance

Various dockets in the Kenyan Government have received more finances while some in need of more finances such as health have been neglected.

The office of the President, for instance, is to receive Ksh 5.1 billion for the financial year 2024-2025.

      2. Lack of proper budgeting

9 billion Kenya Shillings had been initially allocated for the acquisition of vaccines for children under 5 years.

However, this hefty but reasonable amount was slashed down to 463,135,384 shillings.

     3. Lack of vaccine procurement

The Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine for instance, was last acquired 8 months ago as of June 2024. This vaccine is usually administered immediately after birth protecting newborns from life threatening tuberculosis (TB).

As if that is not all, the tetanus diphtheria vaccine was last sought out 10 months ago as of June 2024.

The measles rubella, Rotavirus, OPV and IPV polio vaccines have also been missing on pharmaceutical shelves.

In May 2024, various parts of the country had been experiencing flash floods which resulted in displacements and outbreak of waterborne diseases mostly affecting children.

Over 200 deaths were reported and health facilities damaged, leading to over reliance on non governmental organizations such as the Red Cross.

Kenya has been experiencing a health crisis from the health workers strike, outbreak of waterborne diseases (cholera and dysentery) and the most recent vaccine shortages.

Effects of vaccine shortages

Measles outbreaks have been reported in some counties and the severity of this could result in blindness of the affected children.

Children who missed out on the polio vaccine are at a greater risk of physical disabilities.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that Kenya has a high tuberculosis risk, bringing health threats to children who missed out on the BCG vaccine.

The demand for vaccines will be higher, to make up for the missed ones.

This in mind,more money will be needed to procure these vaccines.

Incinerators for the disposal of injections and injection devices also need to be budgeted for.

Call for action

Satisfied health workers, better budgets and timely procurement of vaccines will help curb out vaccine shortages.

On 6th June 2024 the ministry of Health (MoH) procured vaccines worth Kenya Shillings 1.25 billion, in an effort to counter the shortage.

The government of Kenya needs to set its budget priorities straight to avoid such catastrophes.

 

Author:
Nicole Kaggia is a freelance journalist, and a volunteer at A4C. She holds a Diploma in Media and Mass Communication from the Mount Kenya University

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