Bomet CEC member to appear before assembly over fuel station in hospital

Longisa County Referral hospital in this photo taken on November 24, 2022. A fuel station constructed at the hospital has caused a public uproar

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

A report on the construction of a fuel station at Longisa County Referral Hospital in Bomet has been rejected by the assembly’s health committee.

As a result, the County Executive Committee member for Medical Services and Public Health, Dr Joseph Sitonik, has been summoned to appear before the House panel on Tuesday to shed more light on the matter.

It follows questions raised in the House by Kembu ward member of the county assembly (MCA) Bernard Langat on the legality and safety of the station and the procurement processes involved.

Mr Langat said he was raising the matter because of the safety issues arising from the station as it sits a few metres from the main entrance to the hospital and opposite a blood bank store, CT scan equipment and vaccines stores.

The tendering process has also been questioned, with claims that it was single-sourced instead of being floated publicly to enable interested contractors to bid for it.

Assembly Speaker Cosmas Korir had a week ago directed health committee chairperson Stephen Changmorik to table a report in the House in two weeks on the matter that has generated a lot of public interest.

“The report has been received by the committee, but it was rejected by the members as inconclusive. As a result, the CEC for Medical Services and Public Health has been summoned to appear before the committee on Tuesday,” said Mr Changmorik, the Longisa MCA.

Mr Stephen Changmorik the Health Committee chairperson at the Bomet County Assembly in this photo taken on November 24, 2022. The committee has summoned the CEC for health over a fuel station constructed at the hospital that has caused a public uproar

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Documents that the CEC is expected to table before the committee include the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report from the environmental watchdog Nema.

Mr Changmorik said the grilling of the CEC member by the committee will be open to the public and the media.

Members of the committee toured the hospital last week on a fact-finding mission before the report was forwarded to the assembly on Friday by the CEC member.

Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok has defended hospital administrators on the matter, saying the fuel tank would be used to store diesel so as to make it easier for motor vehicles at the hospital and other health facilities to be refuelled.

“It is not only motor vehicles that will use the facility, but also ambulances, standby generators and an incinerator in the hospital. Those opposed to the setting up of the tank should get their facts right,” Prof Barchok said.

He claimed the issue had been blown out of proportion when the station would be beneficial to the health department and would make it easier to track fuel use by vehicles from county government units.

Prof Barchok presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the station on September 21, amid claims it was not factored into the 2021/2023 work plan in the department and had no clear financial vote head.

“Cases of misuses of fuel, fuelling of private vehicles and billing the health department, as has happened before, will now be a thing of the past,” Prof Barchok said.

Hospital administrators have argued that fuel station plans were prompted by the status quo, where fuel is stored in jerricans.