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She passed away in my arms, mother says of daughter in measles jab deaths

By Fred Kibor | September 10th 2015

A mother has tearfully narrated how she watched the life ebb out of her nine-month-old baby moments after receiving a measles vaccine at Kabetwa Health Centre.

With pain written all over her face, her body frail from the emotional turmoil she had been through, Daisy Kemboi who is Lucinda Jepchumba’s mother, yesterday recounted the last moments after her daughter received the injection.

Daisy Kemboi (left), who lost her baby, is consoled by Tecla Cheboi in Elgeyo Marakwet County, yesterday. (PHOTO: KEVIN TUNOI/STANDARD)

Brushing off a tear, the distraught mother said, “It is really painful”.

She added: “They injected her and my baby cried. I thought this was the normal pain of being pricked by the syringe but suddenly she became drowsy, her eye pupils dilated and she passed on in my arms. She was in good health before the jab.”

Lucinda is one of the two children who died on Tuesday, reportedly less than five minutes after they had received the measles vaccine at Kabetwa Health Centre. The other victim was Brian Kimutai.

Come to terms

When The Standard visited the area yesterday, residents of Kobil and Kapchesek villages in Elgeyo Marakwet County were trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

Residents in the two villages could not understand how what was supposed to be a normal vaccination exercise had turned tragic.

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Because of the area’s poor terrain precious moments were lost before the babies could be taken to hospital.

In the neighbouring village, it was a similar scenario as villagers thronged the bereaved family’s home to condole with them.

“We will never take our children for vaccination again. Who knows if they will end up being affected as in the case of the two innocent children?” said Jennifer Kisang, a resident of Kapchesek village.

Residents have now expressed the same fears about other immunisation exercises.

“We want Government officials to visit this region and assure us of our safety in regard to the use of all drugs in our health facilities,” said Priscah Solomon another resident.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos said the county government will fund the burials and a team of medical officials were looking into the incident.

Director of Medical Services Nicholas Muraguri said initial investigations had shown that the two children were injected by a support staff who is not qualified to offer such services.

“The vaccine was stored in a place which was also used to store laboratory reagents,” said Dr Muraguri in a statement.

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