Ojaamong' given 60 days to pay victims of botched malaria jab

Busia County Government has been asked to compensate victims of a toxic malaria injection administered by a local dispensary within 60 days. High Court Judge Kiare Waweru on Tuesday ruled that the county administration must effect the payment without delay.

This is the second time the court is directing the county to compensate 28 children who were victims of a botched malaria injection, carried out at the Akichelesit dispensary in Teso North in 2015.

In 2017, then Busia Resident Magistrate Josephine Maragia ruled that the children were victims of professional negligence and should be compensated.

But the county failed to abide by that ruling. Ms Maragia had ordered that each victim be compensated according to the depth of his injury. Last year, the victims, through their lawyer Bernard Ombui, filed an application at the High Court asking that the county be compelled to effect the pay.

Mr Waweru ordered in his ruling: “The county must satisfy the decrees herein within 60 days of this ruling. Failure to satisfy the decree, the ex-parte applicants are at liberty to move to the court for other appropriate orders.”

He continued: “It is not tenable for the county to propose how the ex-parte applicants will apply the money paid as damages. The county’s duty is to ensure the decrees have been satisfied.” Last year in November, County Chief Officer for Health Isaac Omeri told The Standard that the victims would be paid by last December.

Mr Omeri termed the incident that led to paralysis of the children unfortunate. He attributed the delay in compensation to “financial technicalities”.

Omeri said the money that was supposed to be paid out as compensation in the 2018-19 budget was instead allocated to the department of Finance instead of the Health department.

“There is total commitment from the county to pay the amounts ordered by the court. If all factors remain constant, then the payment will be effected soon,” said Omeri.

“A technicality arose when the money was allocated to the department of Finance instead of the health docket. So it became hard to effect the compensation.”