The huge controversy that has been brewing in Kenya has hit some new levels with some astounding accusations being made concerning the country’s tetanus vaccination campaign. Last month it was reported the Kenyan government commenced a Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Vaccination Campaign, which was designed to vaccinate 2.3 million women and girls of reproductive age between 15-49 years across Kenya.
The Catholic Church in Kenya accused the government of a secret plan to sterilize women and control population growth.
Now the accusation from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops is far more specific as they accuse the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF of lacing the tetanus vaccine with Beta- HCG hormone based on independent laboratory analysis.
In a press statement from the Conference late last week, they made the following statements and accusations:
- The Catholic Church is NOT opposed to regular vaccines administered in Kenya, both in our own Church health facilities and in public health institutions.
- However, during the second phase of the Tetanus vaccination campaign in March 2014, that is sponsored by WHO/UNICEF, the Catholic Church questioned the secrecy of the exercise. We raised questions on whether the tetanus vaccine was linked to a population control program that has been reported in some countries, where a similar vaccine was laced with Beta- HCG hormone which causes infertility and multiple miscarriages in women.
- On March 26, 2014 and October 13, 2014, we met the Cabinet Secretary in-charge of health and the Director of Medical Services among others and rasied our concerns about the Vaccine and agreed to jointly test the vaccine. However the ministry did not cooperate and the joint tests were not done
- The Catholic Church struggled and acquired several vials of the vaccine, which we sent to Four unrelated Government and private laboratories in Kenya and abroad.
- We want to announce here, that all the tests showed that the vaccine used in Kenya in March and October 2014 was indeed laced with the Beta- HCG hormone.
The Kenyan government responded to the accusations and recommended disciplinary action against those making them.
“We ordered two lab tests and the results came in yesterday showing no traces of hCG in the tetanus vaccines,” said Nicholas Muraguri, the Director of Medical Services when he appeared before National Assembly Committee on Health.
Mr Muraguri recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Bishop Stephen Karanja of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association whom he blamed for raising false alarm against the vaccine.
If the accusations by the Bishops turns out to be true, this would be tragic and thoroughly unethical.
According to the WHO, tetanus is acquired through exposure to the spores of the bacterium Clostridium tetani which are universally present in the soil. The disease is caused by the action of a potent neurotoxin produced during the growth of the bacteria in dead tissues, e.g. in dirty wounds or in the umbilicus following non-sterile delivery.
People of all ages can get tetanus. But the disease is particularly common and serious in newborn babies. This is called neonatal tetanus. Most infants who get the disease die. Neonatal tetanus is particularly common in rural areas where most deliveries are at home without adequate sterile procedures.