Locals plead for Hepatitis B drug

The county government is yet to procure hepatitis B vaccines despite a rise in reported cases.

Residents in disease-prone areas said they had requested the drugs but the health department had not communicated when they would be delivered.

Areas affected by the viral disease include Marigat, Mogotio, Maji Moto, Barwessa, Bartabwa, Ayatya, Marigut, Emining, Kinyach and other parts of Baringo North, as well as Kerio Valley.

Residents raised the alarm after an Administration Police officer died of hepatitis B while being treated at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital last weekend.

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Elias Bartuyot, the policeman’s brother, said he was diagnosed when the disease was at an advanced stage. Mr Bartuyot, who lives in Kinyach location, also lost his father, Samuel Bartuyot, to the disease in 2013.

“I fear the disease will wipe out my entire family. I have lost my older brother just four years after losing my father,” he said yesterday.

Bartuyot said he had only been able to pay for two vaccine shots for his mother. His brothers and sisters have not been vaccinated.

“I have been vaccinated three times. I am looking for money to ensure that my mother receives all the shots. I wish the county would come to our rescue,” he said.

Recommended schedule

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The recommended schedule for the hepatitis B vaccine is to receive the first shot, followed by a second shot after one month and, six months later, the third and final shot.

Julius Kendagor from Chemintany village said the majority of residents were unable to pay for vaccination, especially after the government imposed a quarantine in Baringo North following an outbreak of lumpy skin disease that affects livestock.

Mr Kendagor said he sold his goats and cows in 2014 and had his wife and eight children vaccinated at a cost of Sh800 per shot for each person.

Currently, the hepatitis B vaccine costs Sh800 a shot in some public hospitals and Sh1,200 in private facilities.

Kinyach residents said the county government managed to vaccinate only 500 people out of more than 10,000.

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Kaboskei Chief Richard Chepcheng’ said he had written a report to Health Executive Mary Panga and the ward administrator, who promised to find a solution.

“There is nothing much I can do about hepatitis B. I have notified the relevant authorities and we are waiting for action,” he said.

Public Health Chief Officer Winnie Bore said prevalence of the viral disease stood at 12 per cent. In a recent interview with The Standard, Dr Bore said the county would procure between 15,000 and 19,000 vials for vaccination.

The hepatitis B virus is transmitted from one person to another via blood or fluids contaminated with infected blood. Another route of transmission is from an infected mother to a newborn child, which occurs during or shortly after birth.

county governmenthepatitis BvaccinesBaringo NorthKerio ValleyBarwessaMoi Teaching and Referral Hospital