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Lack of measles vaccine in hospitals unacceptable

By The Standard | December 13th 2019

Globally, vaccinations are mandatory. They boost our bodies’ immunity systems against certain diseases. Vaccinations help in protecting children against measles, polio, chickenpox, tetanus, and diphtheria, among other diseases.

Vaccines are administered to babies once they are one-month-old and continue for several years; every one of them for a different disease. For that reason, the Ministry of Health is under obligation to ensure there is a steady and constant supply of requisite vaccines to all public hospitals across the country.

This task falls on Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa). Sadly, there is a national outcry that many hospitals have run out of vital vaccines. Throughout the year, intermittent vaccine shortages have been reported in various hospitals.

In January, for instance, this newspaper reported that there was a shortage of life-saving vaccines in various counties. In July, the same complaint was echoed in more counties. On Wednesday, many hospitals complained they had not been supplied with the measles vaccine since October 2019.

Additionally, the BCG that helps prevent tuberculosis and vaccines that prevent pneumonia and tetanus are in short supply or missing in some hospitals. What this points to is laxity on the part of those charged with ensuring hospitals are adequately stocked. Lack of these crucial vaccines compromises the safety and health our children.

In the midst of all these, Kemsa maintains it has enough stocks and blames counties for poor distribution.

This back and forth does not give us solutions, hence everything must be done to ensure public health facilities have enough stocks of these vaccines.

Counties must continuously prod Kemsa to make sure it does not go to sleep. We must never put the lives of our children at risk needlessly.

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