With a Sh1bn kitty, Rift Valley counties seem ready, but are they?


What you need to know:

  • In Samburu, the devolved unit has set aside Sh160 million to fight Covid-19 and about Sh3 million has been used to renovate the ICU unit.
  • Governor Stanley Kiptis blamed stringent procurement for the delay in procuring Covid-19 items.

Samburu, Nyandarua, Baringo, and Nakuru counties have set aside a combined budget of almost Sh1 billion to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, a spot check by the Nation revealed that despite some of the counties spending millions of shillings to combat the virus, their level of preparedness is far below the national benchmark.

In the region, Nyandarua, with a Sh240-million war chest, appears to be ahead of the pack in the level of preparedness to combat the pandemic.

The county is constructing an intensive care unit (ICU) complex that is more than 90 percent complete and has surpassed the 300-bed requirement with 30 extra.

The county had 180 beds in its various dispensaries which were lying idle and procured 150 beds from Accord Suppliers at Sh37,000 per bed.

ICU beds

At least 15 ICU beds were procured from the Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (Meds) at cost of about Sh500,000. Two have been placed in the North Kinangop Catholic Mission Hospital while the other 13 are at the JM Kariuki Memorial Hospital.

Construction works for the new ICU complex is being undertaken by Sonic Contractors at cost of Sh70 million while oxygen will be supplied by the British Oxygen Company (BOC). County officials declined to disclose the cost.

Drugs and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were procured at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) and Meds.

New ambulance

The county also procured a new ambulance specifically for Covid-19 and a double cabin pick-up truck. The supplier and the cost of the vehicle were not communicated to the Nation.

The county has given out Sh33 million food assistance to the needy but the suppliers of the food were not provided.

The county has also manufactured 148,000 masks at various polytechnics but the cost was also not readily available.

In Nakuru County, not a single cent of the Sh201 million that was received from national government to fight the pandemic has been spent.

No purchase so far

The assembly further appropriated Sh48 million to procure equipment from Kemsa but the county has not made any purchases so far.

Health Chief Officer Samuel King'ori said the county was using funds from the last financial year to buy Covid-19 related items such as face masks.

Mr King'ori said that the county has purchased Covid-19 related items such as facemasks from Kemsa worth Sh10 million, 20 ventilators at Sh54million, and fumigation and other drugs worth Sh300 million.

Mr King'ori said that the county has not purchased new beds to meet the 300-bed capacity requirement as directed by the government. He said the county is using beds that were purchased by the previous administration and that have been lying idle in the warehouse in its 19 isolation centres.

Isolation beds

Currently, the county has more than 400 isolation beds and hopes to achieve its target of 1,000 beds by setting up 500 of them at the new outpatient block at Nakuru Level Six Hospital which is under construction.

The county has procured beddings but Mr King'ori did not state who the suppliers were and how much was spent on the items.

A single bed at current market rates goes for between Sh30,000 and Sh40,000. The county has about 20 ICU beds that were procured before the outbreak of Covid-19.

At the Bondeni Maternity Hospital where 60 beds will be stationed the contractor on site is Maroc. However, the cost of the contract was not available.

"We made proper financial focus immediately the outbreak of the disease was reported in China last year," said Mr King'ori.

Situation dire

In Baringo County, the situation is dire and despite the assembly approving an expenditure of Sh200 million and an additional Sh84 million allocated by the national government, the construction of an isolation centre at Mogotio Sub-County Hospital where 300 beds will be put is not complete.

Health executive Mary Panga declined to name the contractor and how much the county is spending to renovate the facility, only saying that "the contractor went through the procurement process."

Only about 90 beds that were lying idle in other health centres across the county are readily available. They are set to be distributed across three isolation centres. Ms Panga declined to give the details of the contractor and how much the county is spending.

Stringent procurement

Governor Stanley Kiptis blamed stringent procurement for the delay in procuring Covid-19 items.

However, the county has purchased PPEs but the details of the suppliers were not readily available.

Baringo is depending on the eight-bed ICU unit at Kabarnet County Referral Hospital which was procured in 2017. The county plans to procure six ICU beds and six ventilators.

The region has spent Sh30 million so far on PPEs purchased mainly from Kemsa and it has also purchased surgical masks from other suppliers.

The county bought water tanks that were erected in strategic places but details of how many were bought and who supplied them were not given.

Mr Kiptis’ government manufactured 50,000 face masks in county polytechnics which are sold at Sh30 apiece but it was not established where the raw materials were purchased from and at what cost.

Renovate ICU unit

In Samburu, the devolved unit has set aside Sh160 million to fight Covid-19 and about Sh3 million has been used to renovate the ICU unit.

At least five ICU beds have been purchased and Governor Moses Lenolkulal revealed that the county spent Sh63 million to buy a consignment of ICU beds and assorted PPEs.

"We have spent Sh63 million to purchase five ICU beds, five ventilators, and all accompaniments to help critical patients if need arises," he said.

However, he did not reveal where the ICU beds and other equipment were purchased from and who the suppliers were.

At least 250 standard beds that will be distributed in the isolation centres were also bought.

Essential chemicals

The county has procured essential chemicals for Covid-19 at a cost of Sh6.9 million from Kemsa.

Health workers have been trained by experts from the Moi Teaching and Referral hospital at cost of Sh2 million.

The county has managed to set up three isolation centre which are being built by Ole Noor Contractors, who also undertook the ICU renovations.

However, the county Finance executive Dorcas Lekesanyal did not state how much the renovation works will cost the county.

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