County cuts cost of vaccine as Hepatitis B claims six lives

Hepatitis B outbreak in Elgeyo Marakwet County has killed six people, including a medical practitioner, in the past one month.

There are fears that the disease could claim more lives after the vaccine ran out in the neighbouring Baringo County, where a death has been confirmed.

Elgeyo Marakwet Health Director Patrick Kosgei said a health worker died in Kapyego Ward 10 days ago while five others died in Tambach, Moiben, Kuserwo, Kapsowar and Cherang’any-Chebororwa wards.

“What is important for people is to know about the disease, how it is spread and its prevention. We have rolled out public awareness across the county,” the director said.

Governor Alex Tolgos said the county government has subsidised Hepatitis B vaccination to contain the killer disease. “We have reduced the vaccination cost from Sh3,600 to Sh2,400 to enable more residents get the vaccination against the deadly disease. So far, 5,000 residents across all the four sub counties have been vaccinated and the exercise is continuing,” he said.

Mr Tolgos noted that 1,900 health staff have also been vaccinated. The Governor appealed to residents to sacrifice and pay for vaccination to avoid contracting the viral disease. “A full vaccination of three doses usually costs Sh3,600, but we have subsidised this to Sh2,400 in our county health facilities. When you compare this cost with the cost of your life, you will see that it is important that we get vaccinated,” he said. However locals asked the county government to take care of the cost of vaccination as some cannot raise the money.

“Many people will die if the county fails to further subsidise the vaccines; locals cannot raise the Sh2,400 being demanded in county hospitals,” said Stephen Cheruiyot.

In Baringo, County Health Chief Officer Winnie Bore said the county government has been mapping Hepatitis B-prone areas in Baringo South, including respective localities in Mogotio Sub County for screening and treatment.

Dr Bore said cases of Hepatitis B in the region were being addressed.

“It is true we have reports of cases of Hepatitis B and to curb the spread, we are conducting screening, which has been ongoing in phases in different parts of the county,” she said. The CEC said screening started yesterday at Sandai and will be rolled out in Loboi, Maji Moto, Mogotio and Marigat.

In the past two months, Sandai Location Chief Michael Chepkuto said five people have died in the area, six in Maji Moto and 10 in Loboi.

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