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Doctor faces persecution for misadvising church on tetanus vaccine

05 November 2014, 14:17 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The Director of Medical Services, Nicholas Muraguri and the Health Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia have vowed to take legal action against Dr. Stephen Karanja, the advisor to the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, for his misleading claims that the tetanus campaign is a family planning mechanism.

Muraguri said they have locally and internationally carried out laboratory tests on the tetanus vaccines to verify the Catholic Church’s allegations.

He revealed that the sample results from Nairobi’s Lancet Laboratories and South Africa disapproved the church’s conspiracy theory and thus Karanja will appear before the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board for disciplinary action for breaching the professional ethics.

“When initial results were released and proved that Dr. Karanja is wrong, we now have to take action. It is unethical in the medical profession because he based his arguments on some purported evidence and after asking him to submit it, he has not done so to date. We now have sufficient evidence for disciplinary action,” said Muraguri.

He also assured the citizens that there are sufficient anti-malaria drugs and vaccines in the country to sustain Kenyans until mid 2015 contrary to the fears raised by the National Assembly Health committee after realising that the country had recently borrowed Tuberculosis drugs from Malawi.

“The Ministry requires KES 15 billion following the serious anomaly in the 2014/15 budget allocation for drugs. We have engaged the Treasury and hope the matter will be looked into in the next budget. However, I want to assure this committee (Health) that by now there is no problem of unavailability of vaccines in the market,” said Muraguri.

He asserted that they are engaging the county governments in addressing the publics’ outcry of poor health services and inadequate facilities in county health centers.

Read Also: Woman arrested for burying her newborn baby alive

Macharia also faulted the Catholic Church’s decision to advice the congregation to reject the tetanus vaccine saying Karanja is liable for disciplinary action for misadvising the leadership of the church.

“We have engaged the Catholic Church intensively, and we realise it got inappropriate advice that the tetanus campaign intends to lower reproduction. Dr. Karanja, who is advising the church, told me he is a believer in the theory that the vaccine is meant to introduce birth control. When you hear that, you know you have to take his utterances with a pinch of salt,” said Macharia.

The Health committee Chair, Rachel Nyamai and her deputy Robert Pukose also supported the Ministry’s move to discipline Karanja and regretted that efforts by the committee to hear from the Catholic Church regarding the allegation on the tetanus drug was futile after the church’s leadership failed to honor the summonses.

“Since two labs both in Kenya and South Africa were involved in the vaccine testing and the results turned negative contrary to the Catholic Church’s claims, it is right for Dr. Karanja to apologise to the Catholic followers who had abstained from the tetanus campaign. The Medical Board should also take immediate action against him,” said Nyamai.

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