Isiolo residents have been struggling to access various medical services as medical equipment leased from the national government lies idle for lack of adequate power.
But this is now expected to be a thing of the past after the county government announced plans to upgrade the power system.
The most affected are residents of far-flung Garba Tulla and Merti areas, who have been travelling for over 150km to access the services at the referral hospital in Isiolo town and in Meru town, incurring huge expenses.
Isiolo Health Executive Wario Galma said Governor Mohamed Kuti’s administration is working round the clock to ensure the power system at Garba Tulla Sub-County Hospital is upgraded and a transformer installed near the facility.
“We are working together with the Isiolo South MP in ensuring the process is fast-tracked so that our people benefit from the machines,” Mr Galma told journalists in Isiolo town.
Part of the multi-million-shilling equipment leased under the Managed Equipment Services programme is lying idle at the hospital, including radiology and mammogram machines.
High power demand
Due to high demand for power in the fast-growing Garba Tulla town, electricity at the hospital is used only for lighting, forcing the management to often use a generator.
The hospital is about 500 metres from the town.
Isiolo Health Chief Officer Ibrahim Alio recently said the county government had employed two officers in addition to one who had been recruited a while ago and they will run the radiology department after the power upgrade.
Like Isiolo, many counties have been paying hundreds of millions for the unused or underused machines each year, with others grappling with a shortage of specialists, lack of space and necessary infrastructure.
Mr Galma said the county has eight operational ambulances for dealing with emergencies and assisting in referral of patients for better and quality services.
“The operationalisation of the machines will ensure residents in rural areas comfortably access quality services,” said Mr Galma while announcing similar power upgrade plans for Merti Sub-County Hospital.
Stop empty promises
Ms Halima Guyo, a mother of two, urged the county government to expedite the process, lamenting that the residents have been getting empty promises that the machines would be operational.
“We want to see action, not just mere promises. We are tired of incurring a lot of expenses to access services which should be offered at the hospital,” said Ms Guyo.
Another resident, Abdullahi Wako, said it is unfortunate that the county government continues to delay the process at the expense of suffering residents.
“If it is the power company that is delaying the process, why not seek legal action?” he asked, adding that no one should be allowed to play with people’s lives.