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Busia to pay Sh42m to victims of toxic jab

 A girl who is partly paralysed after receiving a toxic malaria injection at the Akichelesit dispensary in Busia County in 2015. [Chrispen Sechere, Standard]

The Busia County Government has set aside Sh42 million to compensate the families of children who received a toxic malaria injection in 2015.

This was revealed after Chief Officer in the Governor's Office Ezekiel Okwach met with the affected children and their parents in the county headquarters on Monday.

“The money meant for compensation of the victims of Akichelesit has been factored in the 2019/20 Supplementary Budget. The respective department is working on the payout and once it is ready, the money will be released,” Mr Okwach said.

But this is not the first time the devolved unit is setting aside the funds following a High Court directive issued in 2017 to pay 28 children who suffered different levels of paralysis after being injected in a dispensary in Teso North in 2015.

Last year, Finance Executive Phaustine Barasa wrote a letter to the victims' lawyer, Bernard Ombui, where she confirmed that the money had been factored in the 2018/19 supplementary budget.

Despite Ms Barasa’s assurance, the money was never released.

Botched jab

Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman Linus Asiba also assured the parents of payment.

“There is some Sh42 million in the current budget that is meant for compensation of the victims of the botched jab,” said Mr Asiba.

Okwach said Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’s administration was keen to resolve the matter with Ombui 'in due course'.

“We know as a county that we owe the victims and we are working towards that. The victim’s lawyer must work closely with the county attorney with a view of ensuring that compensation is effected,” said Okwach.

The county attorney is retired judge Anyara Emukule.

The victims have already filed a suit against the county government for contempt of court.

Abel Okiror and Boaz Atyang are two fathers whose daughters were among 11 children awarded Sh2.5m each after suffering permanent physical disability.

“We are hopeful that this time round, the county will release compensation for our children,” said Mr Okiror.

Mr Atyang said: "My daughter has difficulty walking. She walks quite slowly due to weakness in the legs."

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