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Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

 

Over 40 people have lost their National IDs in Zomba

National Registration Bureau in Zomba has expressed concern over the increased number of people who are losing their National Identity Cards (IDs).

Assistant District Registration Officer, Mercy Satumba told Mana in an interview on Sunday in Zomba saying a number of people lodging complaints through her office about losing their IDs.

She said over 40 people have already reported to her office that they lost their IDs just three months after the district started distribution of the cards.

“The office has observed that people are failing to protect their IDs whenever they are traveling and this is contributing to the loss of the IDs,” the office stated.

Satumba added that only few reports indicate that they were stolen but the rest have lost them at different public places.

She advised people in the district to protect their IDs and not to carry them anywhere when they would not need them.

The Officer warned that anyone who would lose the ID would be required to pay K2, 500 for replacement of the ID.

Satumba appealed to people to return to Zomba District Council if they find a lost IDs in order to maximize cost.

The distribution of National IDs in Zomba started in February,2018 and the exercise is still in progress,

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Foreign shop owners under threat in South Africa

A business association in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban has asked foreign nationals to close their businesses and leave the city’s northern townships by Friday.

The Northern Region Business Association accuses foreign nationals of suffocating the local economy in townships and unfair business practices, eNCA reports.

This comes nearly three years after 2,000 people were displaced and six non-South Africans were killed during xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal.

Foreign shop owners have appealed to the government to protect them as the deadline looms.

“We are running the business like any business people. We got no problem with the community itself.” Ethiopian business owner, Jamal Andullahi, told eNCA.

“Our big problem is with the business association people. This is another way a competition over the business that’s the way I understand it.”

The association denies that its actions are xenophobic.

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New cyber laws limit freedoms of bloggers

Kenya’s new cybercrime laws limit fundamental freedoms, including those of information and expression, lobbies have said and asked for their rethink.

The Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act is aimed at punishing cyber fraud and illegal hacking, but was amended on the floor of the National Assembly to add provisions deemed contrary to the Constitution.

When it was approved by MPs, the Kenya Editors Guild and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) warned that its enactment into law would affect journalists and bloggers.

Head of the CPJ programme in Africa Angela Quintal warned at the time that “journalists and bloggers (are) likely to be among the first victims if it is signed into law.”

“We urge President Kenyatta to refer it back to Parliament so that members can ensure that its provisions are constitutional and do not violate the right to media freedom and free expression,” she added.

DEFAMATION ACT

The contentious clause of the new Act provides for the punishment of those who publish false information that “negatively affects the rights or reputations of others”.

In the case of information that negatively affects the rights or reputations of others, this is already taken care of under the Defamation Act. Criminal libel or defamation was declared unconstitutional by the High Court in February 2017.

The new law also provides for the punishment of those who publish false information that is intended to cause or causes panic, chaos or violence among the people, or which is likely to discredit the reputation of a person. This will attract a fine of a maximum Sh5 million or imprisonment for a maximum 10 years.

FRAUDSTERS

The provisions in the new Act could be viewed as an attempt by MPs to rein in journalists and bloggers who publish information that affects those in power, like MPs, Cabinet Secretaries and other senior public officers.

MPs also had at the back of their minds their recent harassment by fraudsters who conned some of them by pretending to be other MPs in distress, and a woman who was in the habit of sending them her explicit photographs.


Mother-in-law wants man forced to bury wife

By TITUS OMINDE
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By JEREMIAH KIPLANG’AT
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Close relatives are up in arms against a senior medic in a case in which he has refused to bury his wife.

Dr Patrick Wambasi’s children, his brothers and mother-in-law are demanding that he should observe Bukusu traditions and inter his wife’s remains.

In what has turned out to be him against close relatives, Dr Wambasi, who is attached to Webuye Sub-County Hospital, has been sued by his mother-in-law Gladys Chai, who wants the court to force him to bury her daughter. The case is before Eldoret Resident Magistrate Diana Milimo. 

Ms Chai, who is represented by lawyer Geoffrey Okara, told the court that Dr Wambasi married Florence Chai in 1998 and that dowry was paid in full according to Bukusu traditions.

BURY DAUGHTER

“It is taboo and against traditions of the Bukusu community for parents to bury a daughter who is legally married. If we do that, we will be inviting a curse in our family,” she told the court.

She also wants the court to prevail upon the doctor to cater for treatment expenses and the mortuary bills incurred at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.  Her body is at the MTRH where she died while undergoing treatment a month ago.  

Dr Wambasi’s children have already testified against him, saying they did not want to be subjected to a curse owing to his failure to bury their mother.

One of Dr Wambasi’s daughters told the court last week that if their mother is not buried at her matrimonial home, they will be subjected to a curse and may have problems in their marriages in the future.

PROCURED WITNESSES

 “Some of the defence witnesses we are seeing in this court are not elders from our community; these are procured witnesses,” Dr Wambasi’s elder son told the court.

The doctor, who said he has 30 children with different wives, yesterday told the court that he was not willing to bury her, saying she had destroyed her matrimonial hut after they separated five years ago.

The doctor had earlier claimed that his wife had been married to someone else before he met her and that the previous husband should bury her.

 “Your honour, if I bury the deceased in my homestead, I will be inviting the spirit of death to consume me together with my entire family,” Dr Wambasi told the court.


President Kenyatta assures Patel Dam tragedy victims of aid

By MACHARIA MWANGI
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By MAGDALENE WANJA
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President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto on Wednesday led Kenyans in mourning the 47 victims of the Patel Dam tragedy in Solai, Nakuru County.

During the sombre ceremony, President Kenyatta condoled with the bereaved families promising that his administration will continue supporting them and other flood victims to rebuild their lives.

President Kenyatta spoke at the Africa Inland Church (AIC) grounds in Solai during the requiem mass for the victims of the disaster.

 “As we mourn with Subukia victims, we are also mourning with Kenyans affected by  floods in various parts of the country which include Lamu, Tana River, Kilifi and recently Migori,” he said.

“I am saddened by the accident and I pray for the quick recovery of survivors. The government will help them get back to their normal lives alongside others in the country hit hard by floods,” he said.

REBUILD SCHOOLS

The President committed that the government will rebuild all schools which have been destroyed by the floods.

He further said the government will construct roads and social amenities which have been destroyed by floods.

The Head of State called upon the Council of Governors chairman to help in enrolling all flood victims to the National Hospital Insurance Fund scheme, saying this will reduce the burden of the families, most of whom have lost their means of livelihood.

The President, who was accompanied by other top government officials, said flood victims should be given the first priority in the enrolment.

“Through the Council of Governors, I would like all those affected to be registered with NHIF since most of them have lost their breadwinners and cannot afford to pay for medical services,” he said.

The President lauded the residents of Solai and Nakuru County government leadership for their prompt response, which helped save many lives.

TITLE DEEDS

Mr Kenyatta announced that the government will process 1,300 title deeds for the Nyakinyua farm owners who were largely affected by the tragedy.

Some of the affected residents were part of a women’s group that entertained Kenya’s founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Mr  Ruto, on  the other hand, said it was the collective responsibility of all Kenyans to ensure that they conserve the environment through planting trees to avert disasters associated with global warming.

“During such a time, the most natural question is to ask, whose fault was it? But all of us must appreciate that there is something we can do to forestall such calamities in future like planting of trees,” said the Deputy President.

NATIONAL DISASTER

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said that although a lot of challenges were encountered in the rescue of survivors and retrieval of bodies, a number of lessons have been learnt.

Mr Kinyanjui said the response by Kenyans in helping the victims was an indicator that this was a national disaster and not for the county alone, noting that the search mission was still on.

Among those in attendance were Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Eugene Wamalwa (Water and Irrigation), Amina Mohamed (Education) and Mr Simon Chelugui.


TSC hunts for job seekers to fill 8,000 teaching posts

By OUMA WANZALA
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The Teachers Service Commission is hiring 8,672 teachers to support a new Government policy to have all primary school leavers enrolled into secondary schools.

The new teachers are supposed to plug a severe staffing shortage in public secondary and primary schools — estimated to be 155,000, said chief executive Nancy Macharia on Wednesday.

A total of 7,672 of the new staffers will be appointed in secondary schools while 1,000 will be posted in primary.

The commission had asked the government for Sh8.3 billion to recruit 12,626 secondary teachers annually for four years, translating to 50,504 teachers to support the transition.

But the Government only gave Sh4.7 billion, according to this year’s budget policy statement.

TSC yesterday told those interested in the positions to apply by May 25, adding:  “Those who had applied earlier and were unsuccessful must apply afresh since the merit list for 2018/2019 financial year will be generated. Successful candidates will be deployed to serve in any part of the country.”

ORIGINAL CERTIFICATES

“Eligible candidates must be Kenyan citizens, 45 years old or below, must have original professional and academic certificates and must be registered as teachers.”

Applicants for posts in primary schools must have a P1 certificate, while those seeking jobs in primary institutions must have a minimum of a diploma in education.

“Interested candidates should apply to the secretary, board of management of the school or institution where the vacancy has been advertised and submit a copy to the TSC county director.”

In primary schools, Mandera County has been allocated 118 teachers, Garissa 104, while Wajir, which was recently hit by a wave of transfers following terrorist attacks will get 30. The remaining 44 counties will get 17 each.

In secondary schools, Garissa has been allocated 163, Wajir 50 teachers and Mandera 70 .

INTERN TEACHERS

The National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya has asked for 900 primary teachers and 300 for secondary at a combined cost of Sh181 million per year in Garissa, Wajir and Mandera.

“To date, the commission has in its register 291,785 unemployed teachers a figure that outweighs the total shortage in public schools,” said Mrs Macharia. Last year, a total of 993,718 candidates sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination but by February about 200,000 were yet to report their schools due to unexplained reasons.

Mrs Macharia recently told the National Assembly’s Education Committee that she needed Sh16 billion to recruit 68,000 intern teachers and Sh10 billion to hire 20,000 teachers on permanent terms.

Mrs Macharia said primary schools are short of 40,972 teachers, while secondary schools lack 63,849.

The campaign to achieve a 100 per cent transition rate from primary to secondary schools has also created the need for 50,504 new teachers for four years.

MORE FUNDS

Budget estimates for 2018/2019 indicate that the commission has been allocated Sh226 billion.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion asked the government to provide more funds to plug the shortages.

The 100 per cent transition is aimed at ensuring that all pupils who sit their Class Eight examinations join secondary schools.

Already, the World Bank has recommended that Kenya considers phasing  out qualifying examinations for those joining secondary schools in order to address the issue of poor transition.

The report which was discussed at the Pan African High –Level Conference on Education, which ended last month in Nairobi recommended that the government puts focus on students’ continuous assessment tests.


Opposition tells Uhuru to sack CSs Rotich and Kariuki over Sh9bn NYS scam

By NATION TEAM
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The Opposition has demanded the resignation of two Cabinet secretaries and the Controller of Budget over the Sh9 billion National Youth Service (NYS) scandal.

If Mr Henry Rotich, the Treasury CS and his Health counterpart Sicily Kariuki and budget boss Ms Agnes Odhiambo do not quit within 24 hours, then President Uhuru Kenyatta must demonstrate that he means business and sack them, said Nasa co-principal Musalia Mudavadi.

Ms Kariuki was the Public Service CS when the suspicious payments were made.

Mr Mudavadi, the Amani National Congress (ANC) leader and a former Finance minister, said the three must be held jointly responsible “for this act that can only be described as a robbery”.

“President Kenyatta has been talking about cracking the whip and ‘business unusual’. This is the time to walk the talk. All the officers around this issue must step down to allow full investigations into the matter,” said Mr Mudavadi.

The Sh9 billion scandal occurred, investigators believe, when corrupt officials created companies then assigned them contract numbers, made fake local purchase orders and created tracks of service deliveries in place of genuine, pre-qualified companies.

Already, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has interrogated Public Service Principal Secretary Lilian Mbogo-Omollo and NYS Director-General Richard Ndubai.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said Ms Omollo and Mr Ndubai would face a second round of inquiries. He insisted those found culpable would be arrested and charged while another official said heads would roll as early as this week.

President Kenyatta, following what is reported to have angered him, had on May 12 summoned Ms Omollo’s boss, CS Margaret Kobia, to explain the scam.

CRACK THE WHIP

And as Mr Mudavadi called on the President to crack the whip on his officials, the Raila Odinga-led ODM officials John Mbadi (chairman) and secretary-general Edwin Sifuna called for a thorough audit and action on the scam that will potentially make a joke of the Sh791 million scandal at the same agency, and which led to the resignation of Ms Anne Waiguru as the Devolution ministry’s CS in 2015.

“The President owes it to Kenyans to call upon his officers who were in office when this scandal happened to step aside,” Mr Mbadi said. He, however, faulted investigative agencies for taking too long to conclude corruption cases thereby promoting the vice in the public sector.

“We need to see results from these investigations carried out by EACC (Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission) and DCI,” Mr Mbadi said. “The issue of investigative agencies failing Kenyans in the past is well known and that is why it is my take that the Auditor-General should conduct an independent investigation and forward his report to Parliament for action,” he added.

In Kakamega, Mr Sifuna said the party expects no stone to be left unturned. “Whoever is involved, we are told it touches on the high and mighty in this country, should be caught and brought to book,” Mr Sifuna said.

ABUSE OF IFMIS

At the same time, Ford-Kenya deputy party leader Boni Khalwale said the only sure way to get ahead of the scandal is to present a censure motion in Parliament after the story was broken by the Nation.

“Now that we have information that conflict of interest was at play and that there was abuse of Ifmis, Parliament should use that to initiate a motion of censure so that Sicily Kariuki, Richard Ndubai, and Lilian Omollo do not only go home, but also the other individuals take responsibility,” said Dr Khalwale.

Even as politicians piled the pressure on the government, detectives investigating the scandal are trying to piece information together to find out how companies were paid several times for the same service.

Documents seen by the Nation show NYS paid Firstling Supplies and Flagstone Merchants Sh1.7 billion between November and December last year. A detective close to the investigation said the transactions appeared to be double payments. In one case, a company presented a single voucher but four payments were made, each worth Sh46 million with slight variations in the actual figure.

In another case, the same amount was paid, but only one voucher could be found for scrutiny.

PAYMENTS NOT VALID

Most of the companies claimed the money as payment for supply of tyres, but detectives were yet to establish whether anything was supplied in the first place.

It is not the first time that Firstling and Flagstone Merchants dealings with government agencies have come under the spotlight. In 2012, Auditor-General Edward Ouko raised the red flag that the companies and two others – Interpon and Interscope Tech & Services – were paid Sh31 million by the Transport ministry for the supply of earthquake monitors to the meteorology department.

“The evidence that we obtained during the audit indicates that the payments were not valid as they were either supported by fabricated documentation or none at all,” the report states. They were eventually forced to return the money which was irregularly placed in a suspense account. The audit recommended the assets of the firms and directors frozen. 

Reported by David Mwere, Fred Mukinda, Patrick Lang’at, Samwel Owino and Benson Amadala 


Families in agony as River Yala bursts banks, Masinga Dam swells

By NATION TEAM
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Villagers in parts of Yimbo and Alego in Siaya County are counting losses after floods tore through their farms when River Yala burst its banks on Tuesday night.

The heavy rains cut off the main road linking Yimbo in Bondo Sub-County to Alego in Siaya town.

Mr Martin Magina said his crops were submerged in the waters. “We don’t know how we are going to offset our loans from One Acre Fund that financed our farming. We have been incurred massive losses and expect no returns from our farms,” said Mr Magina from Odhuro village. Accessing Ratuoro dispensary on the Alego side was also impossible.

Another farmer, Mr Jacob Madowo, lamented that they were facing transport challenges as they try to seek services from the county headquarters. “We are now compelled to travel for about 70km to Siaya town instead of the usual 20km before the route was cut off by the rains,” Mr Madowo said.

DOMINION FARMS

Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda, who was at the scene to access the level of damage on the farms, said 3,000 acres in formerly Dominion farms have been submerged as well as community land in both Alego and Yimbo.

Nyanza regional police boss Leonard Katana told locals living near the banks of River Yala to move to safer grounds.

And hundreds of Garissa and Tana River residents yesterday started fleeing their homes following the government’s warning that Masinga Dam could overflow.

Some of the residents however defied the warning.

A spot check by the Nation showed that people living along River Tana were moving to higher ground.

On Tuesday, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said Masinga Dam could overflow between Wednesday and Thursday. He said the dam, one of the largest in the country, was at 1,055.5m above sea level. It fills up at 1056.5m. He urged residents of Garissa, Garsen, Hola and Bura to move to safer ground.

Masinga Dam,Masinga Dam, which Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter has warned could overflow soon. Families in Garissa and Tana River counties have started fleeing the area. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The warning comes after 47 people were killed following the collapse of a dam in Nakuru County. A number of people have been killed and thousands displaced in Tana River, Lamu and Kilifi counties following heavy rains.

FLOOD PRONE AREAS

On Wednesday, panic gripped flood-prone areas along River Tana following Mr Keter’s warning.

Among the areas where residents were relocating were Bula Sheikh, Windsor, Bulla Punda, Bulla Iftin, Mororo, Ziwani and Bakuyu. Some villagers in Garsen, who were displaced by floods, however started moving back to their homes despite the warning.

Dumi, Peponi, Feri and Kachadwe are among areas where the villagers had started returning and planting crops.

“I cannot continue staying at the camp yet the rains have stopped. I will not move until I see the water coming. I cannot leave my farm. What will I eat if I stay at the camp?” asked Ms Fatuma Komora of Dumi village.

Another villager Annah Abute said they could not continue living at the camp as life has been difficult.

TANA RIVER

Meanwhile, schools in Tana River are in dire need of infrastructure and teachers following the floods that washed away classrooms rendering others unsafe for studies.

Chifiri Primary SchoolChifiri Primary School in Tana River County whose toilets were submerged in flood waters. PHOTO | STEPHEN ODUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The situation has left more than 2,000 students in various parts of the county stranded as others study under trees.

In Marvel Secondary School in Madogo, 25 Form Four candidates are yet to know their fate after the management closed down the school whose classroom walls had developed cracks, rendering it unsafe for studies.

The management is said to have secured another piece of land to build temporary structures in order to relocate the school, when the floods struck again. Speaking to the Nation, county director of education Gitonga Mbaka said plans were underway to find schools where the 25 candidates will be absorbed until they sit examinations. The other 600 students have been advised to look for schools to join, a challenge that now falls on the backs of parents who have termed it unfair.

Meanwhile, grief has engulfed a village in Nyandarua County after two children were swept away by floods on Tuesday.

Area police boss Jane Munywoki said the two children, aged seven months and four years, drowned.

The four-year-old boy, a nursery school pupil, was crossing Kasasumwa stream in the company of his mother when they were both swept away by the floods.

 In the second incident, Ms Munywoki said the body of the other child was found floating in the river in the same area. Ms Munywoki said the police have launched investigations into the incident as police had no report of a missing child.

 Reported by Mohamed Ahmed, Stephen Oduor, Abdimalik Hajir, Waikwa Maina and Justus Ochieng


Mt Kenya tea farmers cut links with KTDA

By IRENE MUGO
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A section of tea farmers in Mt Kenya region are leading a revolution in the sector that is traditionally controlled by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA).

The farmers, largely drawn from Kirinyaga,  Nyeri and Murang’a counties, have created parallel cultivation, marketing and export avenues which, if successful, may change the face of the sub-sector.

The farmers are up against KTDA – the agency that manages 560,000 growers countrywide from at least 65 tea factories. Farmers own the factories. Last year, the agency paid farmers Sh78.3 billion, which was a seven per cent drop from the Sh84 billion they earned in 2016.

At the heart of the breakaway is a row on delayed payment, more freedom on land use and differences on how much leaf and a bud to pick. Those breaking away are opting for private factories, cottage industries or selling to brokers.

In Murang’a, 300 farmers who used to deliver their tea to KTDA-run Mutunguru have cut links with the buying centre after their contracts with the agency were cancelled for refusing to sign a leaf supply agreement. Others, however, opted to remain in KTDA.

They are now constructing Kiriti tea factory at a cost of Sh300 million.

“They refused to collect our tea for months, forcing us to look for an alternative market for our produce. We got a private firm in Kiambu,” said Kiriti tea factory chairman Charles Kihara.

As they await the construction of their factory, they are delivering their produce to Ngorongo factory in Kiambu and getting a monthly Sh25 per kilo. The private firms mostly pay Sh10 per kilo per year as bonus. KTDA pays Sh15 per month per kilo and two bonus payments per year, which can add up to more than Sh60 per kilo per month.

INDEPENDENT FARMERS

However, the independent farmers have to incur costs of fertiliser and transport, which is normally taken care of by KTDA. “We also want to avoid the deductions farmers are subjected to. We can unite and take care of logistics by renting vehicles,” he said.

He said the farmers took issue with some clauses in their agreement that they should notify the agency whenever they want to sub-divide their land or uproot bushes, which makes succession difficult. But KTDA has argued that sub-division of tea farms is uneconomical.

Similarly, over 300 farmers of the Kangema Tea and Horticulture Group are in the process of establishing a cottage industry after falling out with KTDA.

LEAF SUPPLY CONTRACTS

According to the secretary of the group Charles Gakure, some farmers refused to sign leaf supply contracts over a clause on sub-division of land.

“We ceased being farmers registered at Kanyenyaini tea factory,” he said.

In Nyeri,  farmers under the umbrella  Chai Farmers Association have also applied to form a cottage industry. The group has 500 farmers from different factories in the county and wants the agency to pay them quarterly instead of annually when they receive the main bonus.

When contacted, KTDA chairman Peter Kanyago denied farmers are breaking away from the agency.


Medics call for mass hepatitis B vaccination in prisons

By ANGELA OKETCH
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Medics have called for  mass vaccination of all inmates and wardens in the country’s prisons because of the high prevalence of hepatitis B.

The medics attributed the high prevalence of the disease to a number of  activities, including homosexuality, and sharing of toothbrushes, shaving machines and razor blades.

At Lodwar GK Prison, 42 out of 144 blood samples collected  in April 2017 tested positive for hepatitis B. The facility had 700 inmates. Three samples tested positive for hepatitis C.

“In my view, this is enough to be labelled as an outbreak and I call for mass vaccination of all inmates and wardens,” said a doctor who sought anonymity since he is not authorised  to release such data.

BLOOD DONATIONS

He said that blood donations in prisons should be stopped, or the blood screened thoroughly. “When schools are closed, we get our blood from prisons but I don’t think it is a viable idea. Only vaccination will help us arrest the situation. It is also very dangerous to the wardens,” he noted.

“The situation is serious at the prison. The place is small, with the men confined in one place. Terrible things must be happening, making the spread easy,” said the doctor.

Dr Hilda Nabiswa, a physician at the Lodwar Referral Hospital, said the prevalence was in the general population though it could be higher in prisons because of “hidden” activities.

“We are going to carry out a further study to verify the data, although I have been witnessing the same in the general population as well. There is a need to raise awareness of HBV to the same level as that of HIV,” she said.  Screening and vaccination of prisoners is going on at the facility. In 2016, at least 36 inmates at the Kamiti Prison contracted hepatitis B. If left untreated, HBV can cause liver diseases and cancer. 

HEPATITIS B

An estimated 600,000 people die every year from hepatitis-B related liver diseases, making HBV a bigger killer than malaria.

A test for HBV has been available since the early 1970s, but only one in ten sufferers worldwide have been diagnosed.

The virus is highly contagious via infected blood or other body fluids and is mainly transmitted from mothers to their infants, or between children.

There is no cure, but antiviral drugs have proven effective in coping with symptoms.

A vaccine against HBV became available in the early 1980s. Since 1992, the World Health Organisation has recommended the first dose within 24 hours of birth, but only half of the newborns are vaccinated that quickly.