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Kagwe: Taxation policies have affected local manufacture of medical supplies

Kagwe has noted existence of inequalities in the availability, access and distribution of the vaccines.

In Summary

•According to the CS, the current taxation policies are not conducive for local manufactures to produce medical supplies fit for the country's pupulation.

•"At country level, we all need to rethink our taxation and duty regimes to create an enabling environment that preferentially supports local manufacturers to compete fairly with importers, since access to health products is not only a health measure, but a national security issue," Kagwe said.

CS Health Mutahi Kagwe during a press briefing at Afya House on Monday, 29 March.Image: WILFRED NYANGARESI
CS Health Mutahi Kagwe during a press briefing at Afya House on Monday, 29 March.Image: WILFRED NYANGARESI

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has asked the government to reevaluate the country's taxation to favour local manufacturers.

According to the CS, the current taxation policies are not conducive for local manufactures to produce medical supplies fit for the country's pupulation.

"At country level, we all need to rethink our taxation and duty regimes to create an enabling environment that preferentially supports local manufacturers to compete fairly with importers, since access to health products is not only a health measure, but a national security issue," Kagwe said.

He spoke on Friday during Annual Commonwealth Health Ministers meeting.

The country continues to face shortage in supply of Covid-19 vaccine.

Kenya was to receive 24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine but so far only 1 million doses have been received.

Kagwe noted existence of inequalities in the availability, access and distribution of the vaccines.

"Whereas we acknowledge with gratitude the COVAX Facility, which was intended to finance access to vaccines in developing countries, we recognise that this benefit has not been realised due to the global shortage of supplies and the unfortunate situation in India, coupled with an unfortunate emergence of vaccine nationalism," Kagwe said.

As a result of the shortage, the government has placed an order of 30 million Johnson and Johnson doses, which will be delivered within a year.

During a meeting by Africa’s health minister last Saturday, Kagwe proposed that all the money raised via the Covax initiative be used to pay for 200 million doses of Pfizer and another 210 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“With this arrangement, Kenya will not pay anything and will be able to easily get and vaccinate 30 million people with Johnson and Johnson which is being manufactured in Africa and will be a single dose.

Kagwe said the Johnson and Johnson is the best alternative since it comes with the added advantage of being a single dose regime and hence reducing logistical challenges.