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    March 2011
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Mother, 8 Month Child Turned Away

Nurses are informing parents that the vaccination exercise has been suspended

Meru, March, 17, 2011- For the third time Thursday, Mercy Muthoni, a mother of an eight month child was turned away from the Kinoru dispensary in Meru town.

Public hospitals in the County are grappling with a serious shortage of pneumonia vaccine threatening to stall the on-going vaccination exercise.

Nurses at the facility are informing parents that the vaccination exercise has been suspended until they received vaccine from the Meru level five hospital which likewise had reported a shortage of the vaccine.

Majority of the hospitals in the region are turning away parents seeking to have their children receive the free anti-pneumonia vaccination that was launched in February amid pomp and pageantry.

The shortage of the pneumococcal vaccine which costs Kshs 15,000 for three sessions in private hospitals is causing alarm with parents of children who had received the first jab contemplating over what to do next.

Hundreds of parents are being turned away from government facilities where their children were expected to be vaccinated for free in an exercise jointly subsidized by the government and Global Alliance for vaccination and immunization under a 3.2 billion programme.

The vaccination campaign which was expected to save about 9,000 lives appears to have hit a logistical snag with most of the hospitals reporting either a shortage or experiencing erratic supply.

The Imenti North District Medical Officer of Health (MOH) Dr. James Gitonga confirmed the shortage of the vaccine saying that they were waiting for a consignment from Nairobi which is expected to arrive by the end of the week.

Dr. Gitonga told KNA over the phone Thursday that the vaccine has been in short supply forcing health personnel to suspend the vaccination exercise in the last two weeks.

The MOH however said he managed to secure 3,000 doses from Nyeri but expressed concerns that the amount was too little to make any impact.

Kenya is the first country in Africa to provide the vaccine although it has previously been used in the United States of America and Nicaragua according to the Director of Public Health and Sanitation Dr. Shahnaz Shariff.

KNA/By Kiamah Wamutitu


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