bw_KCCB_2013

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE CATHOLIC HEALTH COMMISSION OF KENYA – KENYA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS ON THE ONGOING NATIONAL TETANUS VACCINATION CAMPAIGN IN 60 DISTRICTS IN KENYA

The role of the Catholic Church in Kenya’s health sector cannot be understated as it forms the core of our evangelizing mission. The provision of medical services is an important tool of evangelization. The Church has an extensive network of health facilities that include 54 hospitals, 83 health centers, 311 dispensaries and 17 medical training institutions. Our health facilities offer a wide range preventive and curative health services, including vaccination. The Catholic Church coordinates these services through the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, an arm of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), based at the Kenya Catholic

Secretariat.

We the Catholic Bishops in Kenya are concerned about the following Issues regarding the ongoing Tetanus vaccination campaign:

  • There has not been adequate stakeholder engagement for consultation both in the preparation and implementation of the campaign. The Catholic Church has not been engaged unlike other public health initiatives where we have been invited to participate as a key stakeholder.
  • There has been limited public awareness unlike other national health initiatives that are preceded by a public launch where the public can ask questions.
  • Lack of public information on the rationale with a background that has informed the initiative.

We follow up on the recent questions raised by the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, His Eminence John Cardinal Njue and therefore seek answers to the following:

  • Is there a tetanus crisis on women of child-bearing age in Kenya? If this is so, why has it not been declared?
  • Why does the campaign target women of 14 – 49years?
  • Why has the campaign left out young girls, boys and men even if they are all prone to tetanus?
  • In the midst of so many life-threatening diseases in Kenya, why has tetanus been prioritized?

 

Information in the public domain indicates that Tetanus Toxoid vaccine (TT) laced with Beta human chorionic gonadotropin (b-HCG) sub unit has been used in Philippines, Nicaragua and Mexico to vaccinate women against future pregnancy. Beta HCG sub unit is a hormone necessary for pregnancy.

 

When injected as a vaccine to a non-pregnant woman, this Beta HCG sub unit combined with tetanus toxoid develops antibodies against tetanus and HCG so that if a woman’s egg becomes fertilized, her own natural HCG will be destroyed rendering her permanently infertile. In this situation tetanus vaccination has been used as a birth control method.

 

The ongoing tetanus vaccination campaign bears the hallmarks of the programmes that were carried out in Philippines, Mexico and Nicaragua. We are not certain that the vaccines being administered in Kenya are free of this hormone.

 

The Catholic Church acknowledges that maternal and neonatal care is imperative in prevention of death; the Church therefore maintains that adequate and clear information is provided to the general public to avoid misinformation and propaganda in regard to the vaccine. The sanctity of Life and the dignity of the human person must always be priorities in health care and the Catholic Church, in the absence of proper and adequate information will not shy away; from raising moral questions on matters affecting human life.

 

Rt. Rev. Paul Kariuki Njiru

Chairman,

Catholic Health Commission of Kenya – KCCB

 

Rt. Rev. Joseph Mbatia

Vice Chairman,

Catholic Health Commission of Kenya – KCCB

 

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