Kenya has vaccinated only a tiny fraction of its populations, more than one million people have received COVID-19 vaccines. As of 16 June, 991,184 people had received their first dose, while 164,561 were fully vaccinated.

Though the rate of new COVID-19 infections is declining in some regions, misinformation from anti-vaccination campaigners continues to spread and gain more traction online.

Some of the reasons for vaccine hesitancy include: an underlying distrust of government; questions about whether the vaccines are effective; wild conspiracy theories and myths; and people are tired of wearing masks and social distancing.

In a survey done by this…

The claim that Remdesivir is a coronavirus vaccine produced to be tested in African countries is false.

Since September 2020, some social media users have been sharing posts showing medication with a label that reads “Not for distribution in the United States, Canada and the European Union.”

Many have claimed that this label on the images is proof that the global North is testing vaccines against Covid-19 in the developing world.

The photo started circulating on in several countries in Africa. …

How accurate are the statements made by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his address to the nation in November 2020?

On November 12, 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta gave his annual State of the Nation address, as required by the Constitution, to update citizens on measures taken and progress achieved in the realisation of national values.

In his address, President Kenyatta outlined achievements of the Jubilee administration touching on matters health, education, housing, electricity connectivity, food security, the economy and business environment, revenue allocations to the counties and efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the statement, PesaCheck looked at five claims made by the president and found the following:

Claim 1: For the second year running, Kenya has achieved a…

How true is the claim that Kenya is seeing a surge in teen pregnancies as a consequence of measures to contain COVID-19?

In June 2020, Kenyan media carried a disturbing report of a surge in teen pregnancies that threatened to cut short the education of many school-going girls. The report zeroed in on data from a four-month study in Machakos County.

The report said that in the first four months that schools were closed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 4,000 girls below the age of 19 became pregnant in the county.

The claim was made by the Machakos Children’s Department officer, Salome Muthama, who accused parents of neglecting their children and urged them to step up their role, saying a majority…

How true is the claim that breast cancer kills 7 women in Kenyan daily?

Every October, the world marks the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with campaigns to increase awareness and encourage screening of the disease.

This year’s campaigns come amid a claim by the Oncology Nurses Chapter-Kenya; that seven women die every day in Kenya as a result of breast cancer.

As part of creating awareness, women as well as men, are encouraged to adopt a healthy diet, avoid alcohol intake and smoking, exercise regularly, do a breast self-examination and watch their weight.

A healthy population is essential for development in a nation, and this is the reason why ensuring healthy lives and promoting…

How true is the claim by Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala that elephant numbers doubled over three decades?

According to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala, Kenya’s elephant numbers more than doubled between 1989 and 2018, thanks to increased anti-poaching efforts.

Speaking to the press on World Elephant Day in August 2020, CS Balala said Kenya had just 16,000 elephants in 1989, and this number rose to more than 34,000 in 2018. The CS added that seven elephants had been poached so far in 2020, down from 34 in 2019, and 80 in 2018.

CS Balala was speaking during a visit to Amboseli National Park, where he also attached a tracking collar to a bull…

Online scams are becoming more prevalent, and it is essential to check if what you are seeing online is legitimate

The growth of digital platforms has led to the emergence of various online platforms as channels for information and interaction, but as more people get online, cases of digital fraud are on the increase. Over the past few months, PesaCheck has identified a number of scams offering jobs, loans, grants and giveaways, all using the names of prominent individuals, businesses and organizations on social media.

A Buzzfeed article on scammers using Facebook to find new and unsuspecting victims in Kenya found that millions of Kenyans may have been exposed to fraud on the platform, and that the most likely target…

How true is the claim that unsafe abortion is a major cause of maternal deaths in Kenya?

Pregnancy and childbirth are risky life stages for many Kenyan women, and the subject of maternal death is stubbornly associated with these periods. The risk is made worse by issues such as poor health infrastructure, ill-equipped medical centres, and retrogressive cultural practices that discourage women and communities from adopting best practices that can save lives. Many deaths can be prevented by adequate prenatal care, qualified health workers during delivery, and proper postnatal care.

One critical target for countries that are trying to meet sustainable development goals is to reduce the number of mothers dying from complications during or immediately after…

How many new cases of HIV did the county record in 2019?

In an article published by HiviSasa on December 1, 2019, Uasin Gishu County HIV/AIDS coordinator Simon Rono said 1,000 new cases of HIV were recorded in the county between January and September 2019.

Speaking to the press during World AIDS Day 2019, Mr. Rono said individuals aged 15 to 24 make up more than half of the new HIV infections, with the biggest driver of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections being the sex trade, especially in informal settlements.

He also noted that teen pregnancies were rampant, and were a result of girls dropping out of school. Mr. Rono further said…

Elderberry has been acknowledged for its therapeutic value by communities around the world but the medical science behind it is less conclusive.

Elderberry — the dark blue or purple fruit of the elder shrub also known as Sambucus nigra is grown in Tanzania and is naturalised in parts of Kenya and Uganda. It has been touted as a versatile herbal remedy that can boost immunity, fight off colds and flu, and relieve respiratory conditions. It is known in folk medicine for its antiviral properties. The flowers and berries of the elderberry plant are often used in supplements dispensed in a gummy or syrup form, or infused into teas.

The battle against COVID-19 has led to renewed interest in the medicinal value of…

Sylvia Makinia

Researcher/ Fact-checker

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