Governors want Ministry of Health to allow them import COVID-19 vaccines


Governors want Ministry of Health to allow them import COVID-19 vaccines
Governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Prof. Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu) and James Ongwae (Kisii). PHOTO| COURTESY

Governors from the lake region have asked to be allowed to import COVID-19 vaccines to combat the wave of the disease in the area.

Led by Kakamega County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who also chairs the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB), the governors said vaccination is key in controlling further spread of the virus in the region which has so far recorded 179, 075 cases.

The three million jabs procured by the Ministry of Health, they said was not enough to accelerate vaccination across the country.

County governments, they said must be allowed to import the jabs authorised by Ministry of health to augment efforts by the national government.

Oparanya who chaired the LREB summit to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the region said the disease continues to cause a major strain on health infrastructure.

Over the last one week, he said 2, 171 new cases have been reported up from 1, 589 the previous week.

He pointed out that Kisumu was leading with 451 cases followed by Siaya which recorded 446 new cases, Bungoma 263 and Homa Bay 220.

The case load, he said constitutes 16.1 % of the total cases nationally adding that the LREB summit has resolved to respond to the pandemic as a team to curb further spread of the disease in the 13 counties which have been flagged as hotspots.

Governors from the region, he added shall hold regular meetings to strategize on how to combat the disease adding that sharing of data has been enhanced for effective decision making.

He added that oxygenation remained a big challenge with many patients admitted in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) across the region requiring oxygen supplementation.

Kisumu, Kakamega and Kisii counties, he said were the only counties with facilities producing 300 litres of oxygen per minute calling on the national government to help expand the infrastructure.

Speaking during the same occasion, Kisii Governor James Ongwae asked the Ministry of Health to allow use of rapid testing kits to scale up COVID-19 testing across the country.

His sentiments were echoed by Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o who asked the Ministry of Health to issue guidelines on rapid testing and allow counties to import the kits to scale up testing.

Prof. Nyong’o said testing was critical in mapping the extent of the virus spread to aid in decision making and containment strategies.

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Story By Dismas Nabiswa
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