Kenyan taxpayers lost Ksh92 million after an advanced vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease expired following a tug-of-war between senior Agriculture ministry officials, then headed by former CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and the Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (Kevevapi) over a benchmarking trip.
A report published by the Daily Nation on Tuesday, January 21, indicates that Kevevapi manufactured the new vaccine in 2017 to replace a less effective vaccine in the market to help boost the livestock subsector.
The scientists came up with an oil-based vaccine to replace the water-based one that had been in use for a long time.
However, the officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock reportedly failed to give the green light for the vaccine after the government failed to facilitate a benchmarking trip to Brazil, where the vaccine is in use.
“We were unable to launch the vaccine because some senior officials in the ministry deliberately frustrated the efforts,” remarked a senior official at the institution as quoted by the Daily Nation.
According to the official, the step by the ministry officials led to an acute shortage of the vaccine for the livestock keepers in the country.
The vaccine-making organisation is the only body allowed to produce and market vaccines in the East African region serving Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.
This came as the country continued to suffer due to an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease that continues to spread in different regions.
The disease broke out in September 2019 where it spread fast due to lack of the necessary vaccine.
In October 2019, Nyandarua and Nakuru County warned farmers in the two counties of the spread of the disease, a trend that followed in other regions.
Speaking to The Standard, a veterinary medicine expert indicated that the viral disease is dreaded for having the potential to kill infected animals in a short time.
“When you don’t have a vaccine which is the main method of preventing, you have the thing spreading without control. It can be a disaster. I can say specifically for our case, sometimes we had to sit like a lame duck because the vaccine is not there,” remarked the veterinarian.
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