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Purchase Covid-19 vaccine for all Kenyans, Rift Valley leaders urge Uhuru

RIFT VALLEY
By Nikko Tanui | March 24th 2021
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Health CS Mutai Kagwe consult during the COVID-19 vaccine distribution flag off at Kitengela Central Vaccine deport on March 4th, 2021 [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Kericho Deputy Governor Susan Kikwai was buried yesterday, with leaders calling on the national and county governments to channel resources and efforts towards the fight against Covid-19.

Leaders present at the funeral pleaded with President Uhuru Kenyatta to put on hold non-essential development projects and programmes, and channel the resources towards purchasing vaccines for all Kenyans.

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot said the best thing to do is to focus on fighting the virus.

“Without a robust national genomic surveillance system, we are flying blind with limited visibility into how and where the virus is mutating and spreading. We need to provide the vaccine to all Kenyans,” said Ainamoi MP Silvanus Maritim.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech urged county governments to invest more resources in building health facilities.

“As you are doing supplementary and subsequent budgets, ensure more money goes to the health sector. We are running short of ICU facilities, oxygen and other healthcare essentials due to lack of proper planning at both levels of government,” Koech said.

Lost five people

Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina, however, said Kenyans need to adhere to the Ministry of Health Covid-19 protocols, adding that hospital beds will not stop people from being exposed to infections if they fail to protect themselves.

“In the past one week I have lost five people that I interacted and worked closely with. This thing is real. We can talk about the quality of hospital care and all those things but no number of hospital beds can be enough if we don’t protect ourselves in the first place,” said Maina.

Kikwai was laid to rest at her father’s farm in Tugunon, Kipkelion East Constituency. She died on Saturday at Siloam Hospital where she had been admitted due to Covid-19 complications. She has been battling diabetes and hypertension.

Governors Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Hilary Barchok (Bomet) attended the burial.

They said the one million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived in the country last month were not enough and more should be purchased.

Prof Chepkwony eulogised Kikwai as a capable, strong and respectful deputy.

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