Increase financing for childhood vaccines, government told

Paediatrician says domestic financing through the National Treasury needs to gradually increase by 2029

In Summary

•Speaking at a science and health journalists cafe in Nairobi on Wednesday, Dr Christine Karanja, said if vaccine-preventable diseases are not combated, mortality will increase.

•In his budget statement on Thursday,  Treasury CS Prof Njuguna Ndung’u proposed budgetary allocation of Sh4.6 billion for vaccines.

Dr Christine Karanja spoke at media café organised by the Media for Environment Science Health and Agriculture (Mesha) association.
Dr Christine Karanja spoke at media café organised by the Media for Environment Science Health and Agriculture (Mesha) association.
Image: BENJAMIN NYAGAH

The government has been urged to increase and maintain consistent financing on crucial vaccines in the country.

Speaking at a science and health journalists cafe in Nairobi on Wednesday, Dr Christine Karanja, said if vaccine-preventable diseases are not combated, mortality will increase.

Dr Karanja is a paediatric infectious diseases specialist and a lecturer at Kenyatta University.

She emphasised the importance of the country ending the vaccines stockouts that has been witnessed this year.

Dr Karanja said the government should take a bold action to deal with the vaccine shortage crisis through allocating enough budgetary resources.

She said allocating enough resources will ensure no children are left vulnerable to deadly diseases like measles, tetanus, polio and rotavirus.

“The government needs to prioritise on vaccines in Kenya in order to protect majority of Kenyan children,” she said.

The Wednesday café was organised by the Media for Environment Science Health and Agriculture (Mesha) association.

In a move to improve vaccine availability, the country has set up Biovax Institute for manufacturing, packaging and commercializing health products and technologies by 2029.

Dr Karanja said this is a project that country needs to invest in, in order to fit in the place of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).

 The institution has been supporting Kenya since 2001 and is expected to end the support in 2029 after it was persuaded to extend from 2027.

“Domestic financing through national treasury needs to increase by 2029 in order to ensure the country has a functioning system that will excellently handle vaccine shortage,” Karanja said.

She emphasised on the need for Kenya to adhere to the World Health Organization pandemic accord that aims at reduction of the outbreak threats.

The WHO Pandemic accord signed in 2021 by at least 194 member states aims for a better coordinated response in case of pandemics.

The accord expects member states to be faster, better and more cooperative in response to health crises. It also facilitates faster development and deployment of new vaccines and medicines worldwide among others.

“The world learnt a lesson from Covid-19 pandemic response hence embarking on the pandemic accord to ensure a strong preparedness, prevention and response. The accord advocates for  equity in access to information, vaccines, PPE, expertise and proper healthcare,” she said.

In his budget statement on Thursday,  Treasury CS Prof Njuguna Ndung’u proposed budgetary allocation of Sh4.6 billion for vaccines.

In total, the health budget was cut from the previous year from Sh141.2 billion to Sh127 billion in the 2024-2025 financial year.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star