The Baringo County Women Representative, Gladwell Cheruiyot wants the national government to take over vaccination programmes saying county governments were incapacitated in carrying out the critical exercise.
Cheruiyot is of the opinion that if immunization drives are managed from the central level of government, the exercise would be conducted more effectively.
“It is easier for the national government to source for emergency funds and respond to disasters like disease outbreaks which require urgent intervention,” she said.
The Women Representative noted that devolved units lacked adequate funds to respond to such emergencies, going by the fact that more than half of their money was spent on wage bill.
The legislator, who was reacting to recent cases of lack of measles vaccines, reported by a section of the media in some counties, also said poor management of vaccines by the devolved units was putting lives of juveniles in jeopardy.
“Two years ago, this nation witnessed incidents of young children getting crippled after being administered a vaccine which resulted to paralysis. We saw young children who are less than five years unable to walk again after receiving the vaccine. That was a clear indication that county governments can’t manage vaccinations safely and effectively,” she said.
“The mess we are currently experiencing is because of haphazard devolution of health. Some things were devolved so fast, including vaccination programmes, without clearly laid down guidelines of ensuring smooth flow,” she observed.
The County MP, who spoke to journalists after a church function at Boin Full Gospel Churches of Kenya (FGCK) in Baringo North Sub-county, urged governors from the affected counties to move with speed to address the measles problem, adding that it was a big shame for this country to lose young children because of preventable diseases.
Cheruiyot, who is a member of the Parliamentary Health Committee, lauded First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for initiating the Beyond Zero campaign project which she noted has helped reduce infant and maternal deaths.
“It is unfortunate to lose babies after being born because of communicable diseases yet the First Lady has established a noble idea, which is curbing infant deaths during delivery,” she said.
Cheruiyot who was flanked by Marigat Ward representative (MCA), Nixon Lemlem challenged county governments to come up with other medical outreach services to ensure newborns do not die of treatable diseases.
By Vincent Miningwo/Joshua Kibet