Dr Stephen Karanja

Dr Stephen Karanja, who was chairman of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA). Dr Karanja died on Thursday afternoon after  contracting Covid-19. 

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Catholic doctor, who opposed coronavirus vaccine, dies of Covid-19

What you need to know:

  • Dr Karanja was admitted to the hospital on April 20. 
  • The obstetrician-gynaecologist was no stranger to controversy.

Doctor Stephen Karanja, who strongly opposed the administration of coronavirus vaccines in the country, has died after contracting Covid-19.  

Dr Karanja, who was chairman of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA), had been admitted to Mater Hospital for over a week.

He used his leadership platform to oppose mass vaccination against the deadly virus and advocate for alternative treatment for Covid-19.

“He had been admitted with Covid-19, there is no official statement from the association as yet but I can confirm that he died today (Thursday) afternoon,” Jacinta Mutegi, who is in charge of the Catholic Health Commission, told the Daily Nation.

Dr Karanja was admitted to the hospital on April 20. 

Opposed mass vaccination

“It is true he has passed on, I received the information this evening from the Catholic Health Commission. Unfortunately I do not have details about the issue,” said Father Ferdinand Lugonzo, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Spokesperson. 

Dr Karanja had maintained a strong stance against the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the country. In a statement in early March, the Kenya doctor argued that there was no need for Kenyans to take the vaccine, terming it “unnecessary.” 

Dr Karanja appealed to Kenyans not to take the vaccine, adding that it should not be distributed in the first place.

“It seems there is something Bill Gates has invested in that requires the whole world to be vaccinated. What that investment is remains the million-dollar question,” he said.

He added, “We know for a fact is that there are drugs that have been repurposed and used effectively to treat Covid-19. We also know that vaccination for this disease is totally unnecessary making the motivation suspect.”

No stranger to controversy

The doctor then recommended three “effective” treatment methods for Covid-19; inhaling steam several times a day; taking ivermectin tablets; and following the Zelenko protocol, which entails taking a combination of drugs daily for a week.

The Catholic Church Bishops in Kenya, however, distanced themselves from the statement, instead expressing support for the Kenyan government’s efforts to provide Covid-19 vaccines to the population.

Dr Karanja was no stranger to controversy.

In 2018, the pro-life proponent was an expert witness in the case regarding abortion in Kenya. In the case, the Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, had sued the ministry of health for withdrawing abortion guidelines. 

The late also wrote a statement urging parents not to take their young girls to be vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in 2019. The vaccine was rolled out by the Ministry of Health for nine-year old girls so as to protect them from contracting cancer.

Support his treatment

The medics argued that girls in this age group, classified as a high-risk population, were far too young to contract the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that is the primary cause of 99.7 per cent of all cervical cancer cases. 

And in 2014, the Catholic Doctors opposed the State rollout of a tetanus vaccine targeting women, claiming that it was meant to make them infertile.

Upon his admission, his fellow medics rallied to support his treatment. In a WhatsApp group, the doctors said they were hopeful he would pull through. They started a Paybill number to help him clear the hospital bill. 

A message sent to his fellow medics stated, “Thanks for your prayers for SK Karanja. Things aren’t looking good at all but with more masses and prayers and the team work the doctors are exhibiting he will get out healed in about three to six weeks in ICU.”

Dr Karanja, was an obstetrician-gynaecologist and will be remembered for his campaign against not only vaccines, but also abortion.