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January, 2019

 

Methodist Church splinter group wants case dismissed

By BRIAN OCHARO
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The newly ordained leaders of the Methodist Church in Kenya Coast Region Conference (MCKCRC) want the court to dismiss a case by the mother church challenging their installation. MCKCRC seceded from the Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK).

The MCKCC, through lawyer George Kithi, argued that the case has been overtaken by events. “The court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter in the manner it has been pleaded. The event that the orders sought to stop has already taken place so there is no need to continue with the case,” Mr Kithi said.

He told Mariakani Senior Resident Magistrate Nelly Adalo that the suit is fatally defective, adding that the newly formed conference wants to manage its own resources.

He added that the conference will demand transparency and accountability, and also ensure that it controls local resources.

The group on Saturday ordained Bishop Wellington Sanga as its regional president, in blatant contravention of a court order. Six pastors who will head the church’s synods in the six coastal counties were also ordained.

COURT ORDER

MCK last week obtained a court order barring the group from installing its officials at the Ribe Thomas Wakefield Methodist Church, or any other Methodist church in Kenya.

It argued that it had not sanctioned the move, and that the respondents were no longer its members.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this application inter partes, the respondents, whether by themselves or their agents, are hereby restrained from holding an inauguration to instal officials of the church in Kenya premises within the Coast region on January 27, or thereafter,” the order said.

“Assuming the respondents are planning to start their own church, then let them do it away from the plaintiff’s property as it is their fundamental right of freedom to worship and association,” MCK said in court documents.

It said the splinter group’s action was intended to cause trouble, and that chances of violence were high if the installation was allowed to take place.

MCK claims that the splinter group had changed the sign at its Ribe church, causing confusion in the church’s leadership and among worshippers.

The Methodist Church in Kenya argues that the church hierarchy and it’s standing orders, which serves as its constitution, stipulate that it can have only one conference, which is also its centre of power.


Kenya improves in fight against Aids, malaria, TB

By ANGELA OKETCH
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Kenya has made significant gains in the fight against malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids but it still needs to do more to ensure delivery of quality health services, reveals an audit report by the Global Fund.

According to a report released in November last year, the country — one of the Global Fund’s ‘high impact’ countries with active signed grants of $384 million (Ksh38 billion) for the period January 2018 to June 2021 — deployed about 14.9 million mosquito nets in its anti-malarial efforts, enrolled more people in antiretroviral treatment, recorded a decline in Aids-related deaths and registered more success in TB treatment.

The audit — conducted between January 2016 and December 2017 — sought to establish whether Global Fund grants are adequate and effective.

The report notes that approximately 14.9 million mosquito nets were distributed between 2017 and 2018, supporting the country’s fight against malaria in endemic areas.

The country achieved a 47 percent reduction in malaria incidence between 2015 and 2017.

Aids-related deaths declined by 38 percent between 2013 and 2015 with a 52 percent increase in the number of people enrolled in antiretroviral treatment.

The TB treatment success rate was 87 percent for new and relapse cases registered in 2015.

The auditors praised the government for increasing financial commitment to the three diseases and for meeting its counterpart funding in line with Global Fund requirements.

The government provided up to US$84 million to the national programmes between 2015 and 2017 and donated US$5 million to the Global Fund.

As for procurement and distribution of medicines under the grant, Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) was found to be effective in procuring quality medicines through international tender at cheaper rates than international reference prices.

Kemsa has been able to distribute medicines directly and efficiently to health facilities.

The audit covered grants implemented by the three principal recipients — The National Treasury, AMREF Health in Kenya and the Kenya Red Cross, and Kemsa.

The auditors visited 21 health facilities, 10 bed net distribution points, five Kemsa warehouses and five key population groups in 10 counties.

According to the findings, while the country has improved, certain components require improvements to sustain the gains made and provide better quality services to beneficiaries.

For instance, the Global Fund has supported the procurement and rollout of GeneXpert machines to increase diagnosis of regular TB and multi-drug resistant variety.

However, there is low utilisation of the machines (average of 49 percent in 2016 and 2017).

This, according to report, was due to their limited functionality and inconsistent availability of cartridges.

Forty-seven percent of the modules on installed machines were not functional at the time of the audit because maintenance had not been adequately planned for in previous grants.


Team drafts radical measures to end corruption

By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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The Multi-Sectoral Initiative Against Corruption (Msiac) has come up with recommendations aimed at eliminating graft in the country.

Among the measures is a push to set up powerful disciplinary committees in all professional bodies, with powers to deregister practicing licenses of members found engaging in graft.

The initiative brings together representatives from the media, private sector, academia, public transport, trade unions, government, religious and development partners.

It will also mobilise for a national universities and colleges anti-corruption awareness week, launch an anonymous corruption reporting portal and start a rigorous campaign on social media against the vice.

CONFERENCE

The initiative’s co-chairs – Mr Lee Karuri of Kenya Professional Sector Alliance and Mr Patrick Obath, board chairman of the African Alliance Investment Bank Kenya Limited – said the measures were drawn in the culmination of last week’s national anti-corruption conference that was graced by President Uhuru Kenyatta and other senior public officers at the Bomas of Kenya.

“Every sector has made a commitment to our role to fight corruption. We have outlined key initiatives that each sector will do in the anti-graft war and monitoring mechanisms to see that they are accomplished within the set timelines,” Mr Karuri said on Thursday during a press conference at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi.

Nation Media Group chairman Wilfred Kiboro, a member of Msiac, said the movement had made history by marshalling all State apparatus for the first time to answer to grave concerns by citizens on detrimental effects of corruption and loopholes that aid it.

Dr Kiboro said that the media too has taken a strategic role in the fight against graft by eliminating corruption loopholes in the industry, validating the code of ethics and also tightening the noose on reporting on graft.

“The fourth estate has done well in their mandate of keeping the three arms of government accountable. We should continue putting on spotlight corrupt officers who put their interests first,” he said.

He regretted that the media has time and again been made a punching bag for doing its job.

“Whenever we report, for instance, that MPs sit in canteens enjoying five star cuisines instead of discussing important legislations, they bash us saying it’s a creation of the media. Yet the House is only full during debates about increasing their perks,” Dr Kiboro said.

He further called for the strengthening of institutions that fight corruption, more so the Judiciary, which last week was blamed as the weak link in graft fight.

“Chief Justice David Maraga last week defended himself saying they are underfunded, only getting less than half of Assembly budget, yet they have offices across country. Let us support proper funding of the Judiciary; because if it is weak, graft will thrive.”

Also present was Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai who said the public transport sector would become a conveyor belt in the war.

Ms Quinter Odongo, a youth representative, said that they have come up with a framework to rope youths into the conversation.


Stop duplicate, fake car number plate scam

By EDITORIAL
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Revelations that some employees of the National Transport and Safety Authority are ‘cloning’ number plates and fraudulently registering cars for sale is quite damning but not entirely surprising.

The practice is widespread and historical. Car registration and number plate allocation are perennially characterised by corrupt deals.

When the government created the NTSA not so long ago, the primary objective was to eliminate dubious transactions in regard to motor vehicle registration.

Previously, the process of registering vehicles, issuing number plates, processing driving licences and others was made quite difficult by the respective departments, and precisely for the reason of creating opportunities for bribery.

Conversely, an independent authority was established to manage those tasks and ensure efficiency and transparency.

However, as it transpires, that seems not to have worked.

The issue at hand has come to light in the course of the investigations to establish the owners of the vehicles used by the terrorists who attacked the Dusit complex in Nairobi a fortnight ago.

Evidence obtaining shows that some crooked NTSA employees work in cahoots with scheming staffers at Kenya Revenue Authority, criminals and rogue insurance brokers to falsify documents, create duplicate number plates and register the vehicles.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The chain is long, bold and entrenched.

Independent investigations indicate that duplicate number plates are easily available in downtown Nairobi and other cities.

Organised gangs operate shops and offices that principally create duplicate or fake number plates, licences and other vital documents such as national identity cards and passports.

Security officers are pretty aware of these fellows but hardly tackle them as they pay bribes for protection.

However, the magnitude of the problem is coming out and must be tackled urgently.

Duplicate or fake number plates pose a serious threat to legitimate vehicle owners.

They expose them to grave danger in the sense that they can be mistakenly shot or arrested when a crime is committed using vehicles with similar registration details as theirs.

Secondly, it denies the government revenue that accrues through registration. This is because it is the rogue NTSA and KRA officials and their accomplices who benefit from the transactions.

Investigations into the scam must be intensified and expanded to rein in all those involved and stop the practice.

Here is a case of a threat to national security and also economic sabotage that must dealt with conclusively. The suspects must be arrested and charged in court and those found culpable punished.


Surrender grabbed land

By EDITORIAL
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Reform of the lands sector, with the promise of the digitisation of records and streamlining issuance of title deeds, will be a major step in the fight against corruption.

Ardhi House, the headquarters of the Lands ministry, in Nairobi, and lands offices across the country, have for years been in the grip of cartels that have aided and abetted irregular land deals.

Among the beneficiaries are well-connected individuals, groups or organisations of the so-called private developers.

With pressure mounting on the beneficiaries of grabbed land to own up and surrender the plots, a number have already come forward.

Those who do so ease the return of the land to the rightful owners. Others opt to stay put and fight it out in court.

However, where land meant for public utilities and institutions has been grabbed, more illegal ‘owners’ should be encouraged to surrender it.

As the campaign against land grabbing heats up, some beneficiaries have voluntarily handed it back or expressed their willingness to do so, with a few even ready to forego compensation.

Quite encouraging, for example, is the news that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution have handed back to the University of Nairobi its hitherto grabbed land worth Sh2 billion that has been recovered from a private developer who was spared prosecution.

However, the big question is: What is going to be the impact of this on the recovery of other grabbed lands and stolen public properties?

We urge the authorities to come up with a mechanism to encourage more people to emulate this example, but also ensure that such illegal allocations do not occur again.

Where illegal beneficiaries cling onto a property, the law should take its course.


Curb mounting student indiscipline

By SIMON GICHARU
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The recent killing of a teacher within the school compound, allegedly by his students, has brought into a sharp focus the low level to which indiscipline in schools has sunk. A few suspects have been arrested over the incident, which is now the subject of a court case.

Following the gruesome murder of the tutor, a postgraduate student at a private university in Nakuru County, the age-old debate of whether or not corporal punishment should be reinstituted has been revived.

To cane or not to cane errant students is the question that Kenyans are grappling with.

As the debate rages, however, one thing that must be stated from the outset is that discipline in schools is non-negotiable.

This is the only way we can bring up upright members of the society. We have seen students engage in senseless strikes.

PUNISHMENT

We have witnessed them repeatedly set their schools on fire. Now, some have been linked to killing.

This series of unfortunate incidents point to a complete and systematic breakdown of disciplinary measures, which are the lifeline of a successful education system.

Apparently, after corporal punishment was abolished, schools seem to have been groping in the dark regarding what kind of disciplinary mechanisms to put in place.

Enough thought seems not to have gone into what should replace the cane.

Without concrete mechanisms in place, a vacuum was created, out of which laxity among teachers to enforce stringent disciplinary measures crept in. Have we spoilt the child by sparing the rod?

What has aggravated the situation is the constant blame game between parents and teachers on who is better placed to instil discipline in a student.

RESPONSIBILITY

Parents have held the view that because teachers spend a lot more time with the students, the onus of ensuring that they ultimately turn out well, lies squarely on the tutors’ shoulders.

However, teachers, while admitting that they have an important role to play in moulding their charges, they are quick to add that parents have a greater responsibility in shaping their children’s attitudes and behaviour, taking into account the immense influence they wield over them.

The teachers’ argument, which is indisputable, is that students are a creation of the kind of environment in which they have been brought up at home.

Admittedly, if the seeds of indiscipline are planted and watered at home, teachers have a herculean task of bringing back that student into the straight and narrow path of discipline.

So who, then, is to blame for the worrying low level of discipline in schools?

MONITORING

The answer is, we are all to blame — teachers, parents, school boards of management and those in charge of education, as well as the general society, which seems to revel in moral decadence. We are all in this together.

The solution, therefore, is not in pointing fingers but engaging in a serious discourse with the aim of retracing our steps and striving to urgently return our schools to the days of glory, when they were institutions that instilled in students virtues, including hard work, magnanimity, respect, honesty and patriotism.

That parents have a unique role is not debatable. Discipline begins from when a child is yet to start school.

And even when the child has commenced school, a parent must never be complacent.

When a parent, or guardian, fails to bring up their child in the right way, no matter how stringent school rules are, it would take more than a miracle for that child to revert to good behaviour.

Also, if parents bring up their children in the best way possible and then the teachers drop the ball, we will still have a big problem of indiscipline among students.

Teachers, especially in boarding schools, have a huge responsibility of ensuring that the momentum of discipline that parents have begun is not only sustained but scaled up.

The society, too, has a critical role to play. In the past, it was the responsibility of every member of the society to ensure children behaved correctly at all times.

If an adult found children engaging in acts deemed inappropriate, the duty fell on him or her to mete out instant corrective measures.

It didn’t matter if the children were known to the adult or not; indiscipline and indecency had to be quickly frowned upon and punished.

However, instilling ethics and good behaviour is no longer a collective responsibility. It is now everybody for themselves and God for us all.

Sadly, the world of social media is fuelling the worst cases of indiscipline by negatively influencing the behaviour of our children.

No wonder the Nakuru teacher was, reportedly, killed after confiscating a student’s mobile phone.


How contributors can go beyond the ‘unsolicited article’ category

By PETER MWAURA
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Last week I promised to show you how to go past the “unsolicited article” category of contributors.

The promise arose from Nation Head of Content Peter Munaita’s response to a reader who wanted to know why NMG does not pay for unsolicited contributions.

“Unsolicited article” is a contribution that has not been asked for, is uninvited, and is possibly not unwanted. It is possible to avoid that categorisation.

Not every contributor wants to be paid. If you are in that happy category, there is no need to read on.

This piece is for those who want to be paid for their contributions. It is about the steps you may need to take to become a commissioned contributor.

Although your article may have been unsolicited, it is good to know editors are always soliciting — asking people with deep knowledge, expertise, authority, or relevant experience to contribute special articles that help to illuminate specific issues or problems.

But this is a “two-way street” situation in which both the editor and the contributor can play a part. If you have an idea for an article that an editor is likely to want, you can suggest it to him so that he commissions you to write it.

Then your article moves from the category of “unsolicited” to “solicited” and you become a paid writer.

This, however, takes work, initiative, and an inkling of the kind of material the editor might be interested in.

And, if the editor is not interested in the material you have in mind, then it is your task to get him interested.

MARKET STUDY

The first step is to study the publication. What kind of articles does the publication publish? What kind of articles do regular and commissioned contributors write? You can call this studying the market.

In proposing your article idea, based on the market study, let the editor know your qualifications, interests, expertise, experience, or credentials for wanting to write the article.

Propose to write on subjects or topics in which you are knowledgeable either through experience, observation, research, or study.

Keep a portfolio of your work. You may need samples of your published work, if any, to establish your credentials for wanting to write on a particular subject or topic.

Having good credentials, however, is not enough. You need to pitch your article idea, that is, try to persuade the editor to accept the idea.

The editor will listen if you have a good pitch. One writer has described a good pitch as “short, sweet, and powerful” and which “captures the essence and selling points of your story in a quick and compelling way”.

The last but not least step is networking. You need to know the right people to pitch your article.

You need to know which NMG platforms are most likely to be interested in your contribution and then contact the right editor for the publication or section of the publication.

You can do this by phone or email, or informal social contact. If your pitching is successful, you should agree with the editor on the terms, including the fee to be paid.

Your articles then become “solicited” as opposed to “unsolicited”.

If this is not just a one-off and you intend to continue writing, you should make a point of now and then touching base with the editor. And if you are a good writer you could end up as a regular, contracted contributor.

In the article, Why the editor has discretion to reject, shorten or rewrite letters, published in this column on January 25, we stated that Prof Calestous Juma gained recognition for his letters in the Nation when he was a science primary schoolteacher in Mombasa in the 1980s.

Nation librarian Anniel Njoka informs us that Prof Juma started writing letters to the editor in early 1970s, not ’80s.

“I should know because one year before he died (December 15, 2017), he commissioned me to compile all his contributions in the Nation,” Mr Njoka writes.

We regret the error.


Body in a sack dumped in pond and tragedy of broken children

By MUTUMA MATHIU
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Mary Wambui Kamangara — believed to be the common law wife of Joseph Kori Karuwe — of Garden Estate, Nairobi, is dead.

Ms Kamangara’s body was found in a dam, wrapped in a bedsheet and stuffed in a sack, on Thika Road.

Her presumed husband and a woman said to be his mistress, Ms Judy Wangui Mungai, are in police custody over the death.

Mr Kori, 41, appears to be a very wealthy man. Ms Mungai lives at Fourways Junction, on Kiambu Road, in a two-bedroomed apartment whose rent is estimated at Sh60,000 and would have cost about Sh12 million to buy. She has lived there for two years.

Photos and videos on social media show Mr Kori and his rather extended family lived an affluent life — expensive cars, exotic holidays, good living and good food, eaten in generous portions.

DISCIPLINE

Another woman has come out of the Kayole woodwork to claim that Mr Kori is her beloved husband, with whom she has a child that he educates.

The woman claims that he walked out on them. There are four tragedies in this story.

The first is Ms Kamangara, 39, whose life has been so brutally ended and who, whatever her sins, did not deserve to end up in a sack, dumped like so much rubbish in a pond. No human being should ever have to come to such an end.

The second tragedy is the abandoned family — if, indeed, it is Mr Kori’s — eking out a living in the hardship of Kayole as he luxuriated in Garden Estate and Kiambu Road, driving expensive cars, enjoying expensive and beautiful mistresses and taking holidays whose cost could have paid rent for that family in a more secure environment for years.

The third is the story that this incident tells us about the society that we have become. Civilisation is the product of disciplined conduct.

Acting as you feel, to satisfy desires, seeking pleasure and gratification, to the exclusion of all else, is not the way to build anything of value.

A society of people without social, sexual, financial, professional or spiritual values is a bad, chaotic place.

What kind of love could you possibly — and humanly — feel for a spouse who abandons you in a slum, gets rich and sets up house with another person, for years and years?

The fourth, and biggest, tragedy are the three children in this disaster. The family is a factory.

It manufactures not just wealth but citizens. A defective family produces defective citizens, damaged goods who, far from being able to take over a nation and productively manage it, are themselves in need of care.

Our tragedy may well be that our society — consumed by the pursuit of money and sexual gratification — is unable to produce upright, productive citizens.

Of those children, the luckiest might be the one in Kayole because there is a caring adult in the child’s life.

The others, if the father is not set free, will be shopped out to relatives, fights over property will ensue and, unless someone can be found to love and care for them, their future is bleak.

When I was growing up, wealth among traders appeared cyclical. The richest folks were distributors who would have big shops and many distribution vehicles.

Every five years or so, one would go bust and another would take over, be rich for a couple of years and he, too, would be auctioned or otherwise sink back into ordinariness.

Much of the wealth being flashed around by ‘tenderpreneurs’ and traders has no roots.

When you remove their corrupt connections, it vanishes within months, if not weeks.

I came to understand that many traders and so-called wealthy folks have problems making a distinction between cash flow and profits.

It’s all “shop” or “business” money; it is my business, therefore, it is my money, so goes the reasoning.

But there are banks, suppliers and landlords whose claim, unfortunately, is bigger than the traders’.

God forbid, but there may be nothing for those children apart from holiday photos and a few second-hand cars.

I can only pray for them and wish them well. I also hope that a knight in shining armour, not interested in anything but their welfare, will take them in and raise them to be the upright citizens this country needs.

I can’t wait to buy Miguna Miguna’s latest book. One thing you can rely on Mr Miguna for: Out of every adventure comes a book.

I have been reading tantalising news reports boiled off the book about what was going on behind the scenes during the election and mock swearing-in of Mr Odinga as the “people’s president” — a controversial concept which, according to Mr Miguna, Mr Odinga didn’t really want to do but was talked into by his children and a vindictive tycoon.

I was particularly fascinated by an account of how a group of hackers in a “secure” location in Tanzania allegedly broke into IEBC servers and stole, or “obtained”, data showing that Mr Odinga won the election.

I am sure there is no appetite for re-opening the election but, if it were up to me, I would not leave all that unfinished business to contaminate the next one. I’d find the truth and learn from it.


Need to conserve key wetlands in Kenya

By HUMPHREY AGEVI
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Tomorrow is the World Wetlands Day, which marks the adoption of the Convention of Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) on February 2, 1971.

Kenya is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention, which it ratified by domesticating in its national laws that govern the management of natural resources.

The convention is mainly concerned with management and conservation of wetlands, which encompasses their sustainable use.

Other similar conventions that Kenya has ratified include Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (WHC).

The country has designated six key Ramsar sites for their significant habitats that house unique biodiversity, which have received international recognition: Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Lake Naivasha, Lake Elementaita, Lake Nakuru and Tana River Delta.

CONSERVATION

This year’s theme is “Wetland and Climate Change”. It will be marked worldwide through seminars, nature walks and community clean-up days.

Globally, wetlands make up six percent of the land cover. In Kenya, wetlands occupy about three to four percent — approximately 14,000 square kilometres of the land surface. They fluctuate to six percent in the rainy seasons.

Wetlands are defined as areas of land that are permanently or occasionally waterlogged with fresh, saline, brackish or marine waters, including both natural and man-made areas that support characteristic plants and animals.

These include swamps, marshes, bogs, shallow lakes, ox-bow lakes, dams, riverbanks, floodplains, fish ponds, lake shores and seashores.

They also include coastal and marine wetlands such as deltas, estuaries, mud flats, mangroves, salt marshes, seagrass beds and shallow reefs, which, at low tide, should not exceed six metres.

As unique ecosystems, wetlands are highly valued for the services and functions they provide to human beings and other animals and plants.

These include flood control and soil erosion prevention, water purification and nutrient and toxic retention. They also mitigate climate change and are habitats and centres of key biodiversity and socio-economic importance.

Despite these benefits, wetlands face various challenges that are affecting their sustainable management.

These include reclamation and encroachment for agriculture, settlement and industrial development, invasive and alien species, and pollution and eutrophication. As a result, the integrity of wetlands has been compromised.

Recognition of socio-economic and environmental benefits of wetlands can be achieved by fully implementing the principles and values contained in the environmental policy.

Awareness creation on the value of these important lands can also be championed by encouraging educational tours, for instance.

Mr Agevi is a lecturer of Environment and Natural Resources at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST), Kakamega. [email protected]


Anti-hepatitis campaign good as disease kills even more than Aids

By SUBIRI OBWOGO
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The report indicating that 100 people had tested positive for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection while at least 25 had died in Elgeyo-Marakwet, Baringo and West Pokot counties in the past four months (DN, January 28) raises more questions than answers.

Despite its high prevalence, there are a few misconceptions about the prevalence, spread and outcome of HBV, which infects and kills more people than even HIV/Aids.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 240 million people are infected with HBV and 170 million with hepatitis C (HCV).

Globally, 36.9 million people were living with HIV in 2017.

HBV is often referred to as a ‘silent epidemic’ because nine out of 10 infected persons remain unaware of their condition for years.

PREVALENCE

Unlike measles, flu or meningitis, whose outbreaks cause deaths within days, those infected with HBV rarely show signs and end up without appropriate treatment.

One in four HBV patients will die of liver cancer or failure after many years.

Kenya is among the high-prevalence countries in Africa and Asia, where the rate of chronic infection exceeds eight percent, particularly in adults aged 25-44.

Asia leads in prevalence rates of HBV in the general population and people who inject drugs. In Vietnam, 15-17 percent of the country’s 100 million people have hepatitis B or C.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection transmitted through blood and body fluids of an infected person (semen or saliva).

It’s transmitted through broken skin, mucous membrane, from mother to child and by sexual intercourse.

HBV is not spread through food or water, sharing utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing or sneezing, making an “outbreak”, as it was reported, unlikely.

Unlike HIV, HBV can survive for seven days outside the body, making dried blood and secretions a serious health threat.

It then attacks the liver, resulting in acute and chronic disease. The acute phase is often asymptomatic and, unless one is infected as an infant, few adults progress to chronic state.

The risk of developing chronic HBV infection decreases with age and only five percent of adults who get an acute infection will be at risk of developing liver cirrhosis and cancer.

By comparison, infected infants and children under five have a 90 and 30 percent chance of developing chronic disease, respectively.

Vaccinating children is the most effective way to prevent HBV infection.

The vaccine is not only effective but also its effects are durable. The vaccine is so effective at preventing HBV and liver cancer that it’s deemed the world’s first “anti-cancer vaccine”.

To combat viral hepatitis, however, requires a long-term plan of mass screening, vaccination and public education on causes of liver disease such as viral hepatitis, heavy alcohol use, smoking, overweight and obesity.