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What is going on with Kenya’s COVID-19 vaccine drive?

Vaccine hoarding by the West and domestic corruption are hampering the vaccination campaign in Kenya.

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Vaccine hoarding by the West and domestic corruption are hampering the vaccination campaign in Kenya.

As Kenya is ravaged by a third wave of infections and deaths, the government has instituted a partial lockdown to try and limit the spread of the virus. It has vowed to ramp up vaccinations, aiming to have at least 16 million people inoculated by June next year.

However, the rollout of Kenya’s COVID-19 vaccination programme has been, not unexpectedly, hampered by outright cheating, confusion and profiteering.

Much of the international angst about equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines has focused on “vaccine nationalism” or the hogging of vaccine supplies by Western countries at the expense of poorer populations in much of the rest of the world. This has predictably led not just to a shortage of supplies within the richer states, including members of the European Union, but crucially, it has meant that access remains a mirage for poorer countries further downstream.

Escaping scrutiny is the question of what governments such as Kenya’s are doing with the few supplies they can scrounge, beg or buy. The Kenyan government’s approach to the pandemic has been characterised by poorly thought out, brutally enforced lockdowns that regard Kenyans as problematic children to be beaten into submission, not citizens to be persuaded and consulted.

The approach has had limited success and, coupled with public disregard of the measures by senior officials, including President Uhuru Kenyatta himself, has instead aroused widespread resistance to government impositions that have taken little account of people’s circumstances and needs.

It has also turned out to be a cash cow for politically connected “tenderpreneurs” who have quickly established companies for the sole purpose of stealing some of the $71m allocated to buy emergency personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and hospitals across the country.

In Kenya, politicians and their business friends rarely waste a crisis. For example, in 2008, as the country faced starvation following the disruption caused by the post-election violence they had instigated, elected officials got together to hatch a subsidy scheme that funnelled public cash to their pockets while a quarter of the country starved.

The same fate has now befallen the vaccine rollout. The plan outlined by the Ministry of Health involved three phases, the last two of which were to run concurrently. In phase one, between February and June 2021, 1.25 million health workers, security and immigration officials would be vaccinated. In phases two and three, from July 2021 to June 2022, nearly 10 million over-50s and over-18s with underlying health conditions and five million of those considered vulnerable, such as those in informal settlements, would be immunised.

However, the plan fell apart almost as soon as its rollout began. Politicians loudly and self-servingly argued that they should be given priority to inspire confidence among the population, even though the Ministry of Health was reporting encountering little resistance. Because the state had ignored the need to explain its plan to the population, there was widespread confusion about where and when people were expected to be in line.

Soon the elite, including politicians, captains of business, government officials and even journalists, were flooding social media with tales of their queue-jumping exploits and experiences, safe in the impunity that has always shielded them from accountability. This – as their elders endured long lines following a last-minute government decision to fast-track phase two in recognition of the third wave.

Even worse, an unseemly war broke out between tenderpreneurs linked to different factions within the government pushing different vaccines. While one faction backs the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which was being rolled out, another has procured Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and begun to distribute it using private facilities.

The state has now banned the private importation of vaccines, arguing that it is safeguarding against counterfeits. Though that is a danger that should not be discounted, there has not been a suggestion that what was in the market was fake. Further, rather than tighten its regulatory regime, the state is throwing out the baby with the bathwater, further reducing, rather than expanding, the stock of vaccines accessible to the population.

Much of this could have been avoided if the Kenyan government and its global partners, including the World Health Organization and Western governments, treated Kenyans as partners in the rollout rather than colonial subjects to be brutalised and exploited. Sadly for Kenyans, their colonial state does not know how to act any differently.

When Dave is not swinging swords and firing arrows, he is focused on Android and Tech Stuff. He doubles up as a Graphics Designer and Web Developer at 4Designs Kenya: www.4designs.co.ke

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Health

Fundraiser for Baby Ayah Hits Target.

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Fundraiser for baby Ayah hits target of 240 Million.

The 18-month old Ayah suffers from a spinal muscular atrophy.

The genetic disease found in one in 10000 children born worldwide.

At the age of 9 months her parents noticed that Ayah was unable to raise her head when lying down.

She couldn’t sit on her own or clap, all these she had previously done with ease.

When word went round that she needed the world’s most expensive drug to save her life, well-wishers came together to raise funds.

They came from both Kenya and abroad.

As of April this year, a total of KSh146 Million had been raised.

 This was more than half of the figure needed for her drug.

As at now, the targeted 240 Million has been reached, thanks to the clarion call that railed everyone to baby Ayah’s support.

The family was full of gratitude for the media houses that were at the forefront in fighting for little Ayah.

The little girl will be on treatment called Zolgensma which goes for 230 Million.

This is the world’s most expensive drug.

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Celebrities

Victoria Rubadiri Announces That She Is Joining BBC for Three Months.

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Victoria Rubadiri has announced that she will be taking a leave from Citizen for a period of three months until December 2021.

The news anchor made the announcement at the end of the Sunday Live Bulletin.

Her co-host Jeff did not hesitate to express that he would miss her.

“At the beginning of this program, I said it would be a bittersweet moment because our very own Victoria Rubadiri is off for the next three months.

I am going to miss you but we know you are going out there to shine like a diamond,” He said

He bid her farewell and surprised her with a cake bought by one of the shows crew.

“The time has come, London is calling, I’m going to miss you Jeff,” She said.

As the winner of 20202 Komla Dumor Award, she will receive both training and work experience at the BBC office based in London.

She will begin her three-month placement at the BBC by attending a training coursed.

This will be at the BBC academy.

Thereafter, shell join the BBC team- across TV, radio and online.

Through this her skills will enhance tremendously.

The award was created to honor Komla Dumor, a presenter for BBC world news, who had died suddenly in 2014.

Rubadiri is the second Kenyan to win the award after Wahiga Mwaura.

She impressed the judges with her eloquence and passion for telling African stories on both traditional and media platforms.

“We’re delighted to have Rubadiri on board to bring her insights and passion to the BBC,” Said Jamie Anus, Director of BBC World Service Group at the time.

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Business

Questions Frequently Asked in an Interview and Their Answers.

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Questions Frequently Asked in an Interview and their answers are:

1. QUE: Why should we hire you?

   ANS: If you hire me, it would be a great platform to showcase my skills. Whatever goals I set,

I ensure to accomplish within stipulated time.

2.QUE: Do you have any questions for us?

   ANS: When can I join?

3.QUE: What position do you prefer on a team working on a project?

    ANS: It doesn’t matter till I learn something new from every project.

4.QUE: What irritates you about co-workers?

    ANS: I believe in team-work. Even if I find anything irritating, I try to avoid it unless it

personally affects me.

5.QUE: Tell me your ability to work under pressure?

   ANS: I keep myself calm and focus on multi-tasking while being patient.

6.QUE: What are your expectations from this job?

   ANS: Professional advancement and a good future.

7.QUE: What could be a possible distraction at work?

   ANS: I concentrate on one thing at a time.

8.QUE: What is your strength?

   ANS: I am a quick learner and a great team player.

9.QUE: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

   ANS: I see myself in a senior position managing important portfolio of this company.

10. QUE: What’s the reason behind leaving your last job?

        ANS: I am looking for better opportunities.

11.QUE: Describe your management style?

      ANS: I will constantly keep tab of assigned work with my subordinates and seniors and

ensure I finish my assignments on time.

12. QUE: Are you a team player?

       ANS: Yes. I ensure that the team I’m in successfully completes assignments and projects

within deadlines.

13. QUE: How long would you expect to work for us if hired?

       ANS: As long as I feel challenged professionally.

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