The World Health Organization (WHO) is mandated with advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well being.
The Organization’s work often increases in times of pandemic. Formed in 1951, WHO has had to grapple with a couple of pandemics. However, none has been so demanding and confusing as the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the second year of the pandemic a new challenge has emerged, that of vaccines.
Africa has still not been ravaged by Covid-19 and in the era of vaccines, the continent is missing out on a chance to escape death and destruction.
In Kenya, the first year of the pandemic was full of scandals unimaginable, KEMSA which had received over Sh2.1 Trillion much of which was to tackle Covid-19 and other diseases, blundered into drama.
One would imagine that having been spared of the ravages of the covid-19, the Ministry of Health (MoH) would be more prepared to administer the vaccines given under the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative.
Over 1 million vials of the AstraZeneca, a WHO-approved vaccine was shipped to Kenya. Some other parts of the world which are considered poor also received the same.
Soon challenges emerged that the vaccine was causing blood clots in some people. Denmark was the first country to ban AstraZeneca for this anomaly.
Other countries followed suit, Australia, African Union also banned the vaccine.
Though proponents of AstraZeneca pushed the flimsy narrative that ‘the benefits of it outweighs the risks’, the NO-to-AstraZeneca ship had sailed.
France, the Netherlands, Germany, India and South Africa put some stop to the vaccine. It was a flop.
In Kenya, a successful test of the Russian made vaccine, Sputnik V, showed no defects and naturally, more people including the mighty gravitated towards it.
After a few people were vaccinated, the Ministry of Health saw competition, and the cartel nature of procurement arm-twisted the Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe to suspend it.
The Pharmacy and Poisons Board was also castigated for importing the vaccine. Russian Embassy was forced to denounce its importation.
Richard Ngatia’s Megascope which seconded by Dr Willis Akhwale is mentioned as the cartel trying to fight Sputnik V Vacine. The other is Dr Patrick Amoth, a WHO representative in Kenya who works with shadowy KEMSA-Heist beneficiary Dr Wanjiku Ndungu.
Is Africa a dumping ground for a banned vaccine?
With the flipflop coming from the MoH, Kenya missed a chance at the only functional and affordable vaccine.
It should be noted that weeks earlier, Kagwe had clearly stated that the private sector ould be allowed to import the Covid-19 vaccine.
Kagwe had also told the Senate Health Committee that Dinlars Pharm, the company that imported Sputnik Covid vaccine, followed the due process of the law and was approved by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and are free to roll out the vaccine.
Banning it after it showed to be a success was counterproductive and ill-advised.
Worldwide, countries such as India have given a big thumbs up for the vaccines and are importing them in ship-loads.
Russia’s healthcare watchdog has said that it has not detected any cases of blood clots arising from the use of the country’s Sputnik V vaccine.
“During pharmacological supervision, we did not register any cases of blood clots that developed amid vaccination using the Sputnik V vaccine and that became a consequence of its use,” said Roszdravnadzor director Alla Samoilova in a statement published by Russian news agencies.
Question is, who advised MoH to continue hoarding and administering the AstraZeneca vaccine yet countries like South Africa and Italy had already disapproved it?
Why was the only working vaccine with no side effects banned? What was the motive?
Why was the MoH issuing confusing statements over vaccines?
India is importing 800m dozes of Sputnik and we want to import AstraZeneca which has been banned?
Is Africa a dumping ground for a banned vaccine that causes blood clots?
Kenya has no other option but to import Sputnik V and save its population.