Nov 14, 2014

Health officers escorted to church for vaccination

November 9, 2012
Standard Digital
Antony Gitonga 
Joseph Muchiri 

Public health officers raided a church in Naivasha after sect members declined to have their children vaccinated against measles. 

The incident comes a day after three parents pleaded guilty, in an Embu court, to the crime of refusing to take their children for immunization due to their faith.

Yesterday, officers accompanied by armed Administration Police officers were left in shock after the faithful of the ‘Africa Kanisa Israel’ church decided to hide their minors.

Members of the sect in Kinamba village denied they had refused to have their minors vaccinated, but a search found four malnourished minors hidden in the bushes.

None of the children had been immunized since birth and the health officers moved in to administer the required vaccines. 


The over 100 sect members live in ‘Akorino village’ where they worship in a church whose floor is littered with hay. According to Naivasha District Public Health Officer Samuel King’ori, they raided the village after getting a tip-off from members of the public.

 “The church members were first adamant but have immunised all the children,” he said. King’ori noted it was the same village where a family declined to take their children for medication and one died as a result.

He said a family in Mai Mahiu area had declined to have their children immunised and police had been sent to arrest them.

Church leader Fredrick Mwangi defended the members saying they were free to seek medical attention or prayers. Mwangi said the Bible gave them the alternative of praying instead of going to hospital, but was quick to deny refusing to vaccinate the children. 

Meanwhile, three parents in Embu West District who barred medical personnel from accessing their home to immunise the children were remanded after they pleaded guilty to the crime.

Joseph Kamau, 42, his wife Wanjiru Kamau, 40, and their neighbour Nginda Nyaga, Kavonokia sect adherents, pleaded guilty to the crime before an Embu court. 

They told Chief Magistrate Margaret Wachira their Kanisa la Mungu church did not advocate use of conventional medicine. 

Ms Nyaga shocked the court when she said she had never taken her five children to hospital since 1989 when she became a member of the sect. Ms Wachira remanded the parents at the Embu GK Prison until November 26 when a probation report would be provided. 

She also ordered the children be taken for immunisation and placed in a children’s home.