Covid-19 Vaccine in Kenya

Covid-19 vaccine in Kenya

Healthcare workers, security personnel, teachers, hotel workers, and the elderly are on the priority list of Kenya’s first batch of coronavirus vaccines.

According to a statement by Statehouse, Kenya targets to vaccinate 1.25 million in phase one of the campaign by June.

“The first batch of the country’s Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Kenya on Tuesday. In that regard Cabinet ratified the distribution framework for the vaccine; with first priority being given to healthcare workers, frontline workers including security personnel and teachers vulnerable persons and groups and hospitality sector,” said the Cabinet dispatch.

The second phase of the Covid-19 vaccine in Kenya will be administered between July and next June, targeting 9.7 million people — comprising those above 50 years and those above 18 with underlying medical conditions.

Kenya has so far recorded a total of 105,467 Corona Virus cases, 86,678recoveries, and 1,856 deaths.

What Covid-19 Vaccine is Kenya Using?

Kenya will be using the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Astrazeneca and Oxford University.

The Oxford vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimpanzees. It has been modified to look more like coronavirus – although it can’t cause illness.

Once injected, it teaches the body’s immune system how to fight the real virus, should it need to.

The recommended dosage is two doses given intramuscularly (0.5ml each) with an interval of 8 to 12 weeks.

The AZD1222 vaccine against COVID-19 has an efficacy of 63.09% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The government plans to administer the vaccine for free.

UK helps Kenya prepare to roll-out COVID-19 vaccine

Britain said on Wednesday it was helping Kenya prepare to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Astrazeneca and Oxford University, as African nations race to ensure their populations are inoculated.

South Africa had rolled out the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University but later suspended it’s use following a small clinical trial that showed it offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness from the 501Y.V2 variant dominant in the country.

South Africa Dumps  Oxford’s Vaccine for Johnson & Johnson

South Africa is now using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is administered as a single dose.

The country has received 80,000 doses of this vaccine, which has been shown to be effective against the variant first identified in South Africa.

More than a third of all Covid-19 cases in Africa have been in South Africa, with a new variant of the virus accounting for most of the new cases there.

According to the Worl Health Organisation (WHO), as of 18 February 2021, at least seven different vaccines across three platforms have been rolled out in countries and more than 200 additional vaccine candidates are in development, of which more than 60 are in clinical development.

Vulnerable populations in all countries are the highest priority for vaccination.

“Vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19 and it is hugely encouraging to see so many vaccines proving successful and going into development, ” WHO.

The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has issued interim recommendations for use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (AZD1222).

Among the recommendations is for the Vaccination is to be administered to persons with comorbidities that have been identified as increasing the risk of severe COVID-19, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes.

WHO further recommends that priority on COVID-19 vaccine be given to health workers at high risk of exposure and older people, including those aged 65 or older.

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Murder Mystery – Woman, 8-Year old Son and Lover Killed in Nairobi’s Eastlands

Photo Courtesy

Detectives are investigating a macabre murder of a middle-aged woman, her 8-year-old son and a 35-year-old man, said to be a boyfriend to the deceased woman.

The bodies of the three were discovered in the woman’s house on Tuesday. The house is located in the government quarters along Jogoo Road.

According to the DCI, both mother and son had blood oozing from their mouths and were holding rosaries indicating that they may have prayed for their lives to be spared. Their bodies were found on the floor of their bedroom next to each other while the body of the male adult, was found in the toilet with his hands and legs tied together using electric cables.

The bodies of the mother and child were reportedly partially decomposed but the man’s body was intact.

The house was reportedly in a mess with clothes, shoes and bedding strewn all over the floor, indicating that a struggle must have ensued before the victims met their painful deaths even though Neighbours, who reported having the victims enter the house on Sunday, said they never heard any commotion.

Bodies of the victims were moved to Chiromo mortuary awaiting autopsies.

The woman has since been identified as Charity Cherop Cheboi, an employee of the Registrar of Persons based at Mathare Huduma Centre. The murdered boyfriend, Kelvin Kipkoech, has also been identified as a senior seminarian waiting to graduate as a Catholic priest.

The bodies were discovered after the child’s school administration called his father who does not live with them to find out why the boy did not report to school on Monday and Tuesday.

The father, on failing to reach his son’s mother on phone, went to the house but no one opened it, prompting him to find ways of breaking into the house, located on the third floor.

Cases of murder have been on the rise in the country. The latest incident comes just days after 38-year-old Caroline Wanjiku Maina, was Kidnapped and killed by suspects known to her. The four suspects have since been arrested.

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Kenyans Facing Starvation

Failed rains have added to Kenya’s food security problems

The Global Hunger Report has ranked Kenya among 40 countries with a serious risk of hunger facing a section of its population.

Kenya ranks 84 out of a total 107 countries and has a score of 23.7, which according to The Global Hunger Index is quite “serious”.

The Global Hunger Index incorporates four component indicators: undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting, and child mortality.

According to the GHI report,  23 percent of the population is undernourished. The figure has reduced from 3.4 in the past two decades and the child mortality rate, although decreasing, now stands at 4.1 percent.

The report has attributed the situation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the locusts invasion and climate change.

“The outlook was bad even before Covid-19 but now we have a triple threat in Kenya, including the locust outbreak, the increasing frequency of crisis due to climate change,” said Kelvin Shingles, the Country Director of Welthungerhilfe (WHH), the organisation that produces the Global Hunger Index.

Kitui and West Pokot counties have been reported to have the highest number of children who are stunted.

Food Security

WHH recommends governments to increase support for smallholder farmers to become more sustainable, improving access to agricultural inputs and extension services, strengthening local and regional markets as some of the measures to boost food security.

The Global Hunger Index is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and national levels. The GHI is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger, provide a means to compare the levels of hunger between countries and regions and call attention to the areas of the world in greatest need of additional resources to eliminate hunger.

 

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Kenya’s 2022 Elections Should Expand Participation of Women in Politics

Increased participation for women in Politics

By Winnie Kabintie

The global participation of women in politics continues to be dismal despite the milestones made in empowering women in the economic, social and political Spheres.

Women in the Executive

According to data by UN Women, Gender parity in the highest decisions of power will not be reached for another 130 years going by the current pace.

Globally, only 21 countries have women serving as Heads of State or Government, and 119 countries have never had a woman leader. Additionally, only 10 countries have a woman Head of State, and 13 countries have a woman Head of Government.

The data further reveals that gender parity in ministerial positions will not be achieved before 2077, despite an annual increase of 0.52 percentage points when it comes to women representation in Ministerial positions.

Currently, only 21 percent of government ministers were women, with only 14 countries having achieved 50 percent or more women in cabinets.

Women In Parliament

Only four countries have 50 percent or more women in both houses of parliament namely;  Rwanda (61 percent), Cuba (53 percent), Bolivia (53 percent), and the United Arab Emirates with 50 percent.

The number of women in parliament in Kenya accounts for just 23 percent of the National Assembly and Senate — a figure that includes seats reserved exclusively for women representatives.

KENYA’S ELUSIVE TWO-THIRDS (2/3RD) THRESHOLD FOR GENDER PARITY

Women Deliver for a Good Kenya

Kenya’s 2010 Constitution provides for a two-thirds gender rule, in an effort to increase women participation in politics with Article 81 (b) stating that “not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender”.

The Constitution recognizes women, youth, persons with disabilities and ethnic minorities as special groups deserving of constitutional protection and Article 27 goes further to obligate the government to “develop and pass policies and laws, including affirmative action programs and policies to address the past discrimination that women have faced”.

Despite such progressive legislation to close the Gender gap, Kenya is still trailing her partners in the East African Community in empowering women in politics according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, which ranked Kenya at position 85 out of a total 152 counties, behind Rwanda (4), Burundi (43), Uganda(35) and Tanzania (50)

The Global Gender Gap Index serves as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men in health, education, economy and politics.

The 2017 elections saw more women in Kenya elected to office more than at any other time in history and we hope the upcoming 2022 elections will take the milestone a notch higher. According to a report by NDI and the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Kenya), 29 percent more women ran for office in the 2017 elections than in the previous election.

Women leaders in politics currently hold 172 of the 1,883 elected seats in Kenya, up from 145 after the 2013 elections.

Three women namely; Charity Ngilu (Kitui County), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga County) and the late Joyce Laboso (Bomet County) were elected governors, making them the first women to ascend into that political space since the introduction of the devolved system of governance following the promulgation of the 2010 constitution.

In 2018, during the commemoration of International Women’s Day, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru said female leaders were aiming to have 13 women elected governors in the 2022 general elections.

“We are deliberate about getting 13 female governors in 2022 and we are already putting up practical strategies at the senate, at the county assemblies and in every other forum,” said Waiguru, who is also the deputy chairperson Council of Governors (COG).

Three other women were also elected as senators for the first time in the 2017 general elections; Susan Kihika (Nakuru County) Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu) and Fatuma Dullo  (Isiolo) while the number of female MPs elected also rose to 22 up from 16 in the 11th parliament.

Barriers facing women in politics

In a country that is still largely patriarchal, women who step out to vie for elective politics face many barriers including inadequate support from political parties (particularly in the primaries), a lack of financial resources, gender stereotyping and violence.

Female leadership has proven to be quite essential for development and democracy and we need more of it in Kenya.

Kenya’s Score Card In Championing Gender Equality and Women Empowerment

 

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Kenya Headed for a Referendum After BBI Bill Attains the 24-County Constitutional Threshold

Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)

The country will now be headed for a referendum after the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Tuesday reached the 24-county constitutional threshold required to secure a plebiscite to amend the Constitution.

Nandi,  Kakamega, Narok, Mombasa, Murang’a, Makueni, Kitui, Bungoma, Taita Taveta, Nyeri, Machakos, Tharaka Nithi and Lamu counties became the latest to assent to the BBI Bill, following the footsteps of Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Busia, Vihiga, Trans Nzoia, Nairobi, Kisii, West Pokot, Kajiado, Laikipia and Samburu counties.

Even though the Bill still needs to be tabled in both the National Assembly and the Senate, the referendum is imminent since the outcome of the bicameral Parliament does not change the counties’ endorsement.

The BBI, key among other issues, proposes to change Kenya’s current system of governance and Revenue allocation to the counties, reportedly to “resolve the winner takes it all” aspect in the presidential elections, which has often swang the country in viciously contested elections.

Prime Minister

The BBI advocates for the designation of a Prime Minister, who shall be an elected member of the National Assembly. The President shall nominate a Prime Minister, whose appointment must be approved by the National Assembly.

The Prime Minister, according to the BBI report, shall control and supervise the execution of day-to-day functions and affairs of the government. The Prime Minister shall also, be the leader of government business in Parliament and chair of Cabinet Sub-committees.

The Executive

The report recommends a President, with executive authority who will be directly elected by the people, with the loser in the State House contest directly nominated to Parliament and takes over as leader of the official opposition.

The Executive, according to BBI, should include the President, a Deputy President, a Prime Minister, and Cabinet Ministers. The president shall have garnered at least 50% plus one vote in the State House race, and at least 25% of total votes cast in at least 24 counties.

The President, according to the report, shall remain Head of State and Government, and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces.

Cabinet Ministers – Mixed Cabinet

The BBI also proposes for the rename of Cabinet Secretaries to “Cabinet Ministers” and abolition of the Chief Administrative Secretary slots and further calls for a mixed cabinet, that shall be appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister. That cabinet shall draw its membership from Parliament and technocrats.

On Devolution, the BBI report recommends retention of the 47 counties and increased allocation to County Governments from at least 15% of last audited accounts to between 35% and 50%, with resources matching the devolved functions.

The report further recommends that Members of County Assembly (MCAs) take charge of bursaries and play a more prominent oversight role to ensure prudent management of devolved resources.

The BBI also calls for an increase in the number of Senators from the current 47 to 94, one male and one female representative.

On Devolution, the BBI report recommends retention of the 47 counties and increased allocation to County Governments from at least 15% of last audited accounts to between 35% and 50%, with resources matching the devolved functions.

The report recommends that Members of County Assembly (MCAs) take charge of bursaries and play a more prominent oversight role to ensure prudent management of devolved resources.

It also calls for the establishment of the Health and Youth Commissions and the introduction of National Ethos.

The Building Bridges Initiative is the peace agreement reached by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga following the disputed 2017 presidential elections.

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Who Killed Dr Robert Ouko and Why?

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