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MPs put county on the spot for neglecting health sector

By Harold Odhiambo | Published Tue, September 4th 2018 at 10:46, Updated September 4th 2018 at 10:50 GMT +3
Ugunja MP and Chairman of Public Accounts Committee Opiyo Wandayi on June 23rd, 2018. (Collins Oduor, Standard)

The National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has criticised Kisumu County of neglecting the health sector.

The committee said multi-million shilling healthcare equipment released by the national Government to the two biggest health medical facilities in the region was lying idle.

Led by PAC chairperson Opiyo Wandayi (pictured), the committee took county officials to task to explain the conditions at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital and the Kisumu County Hospital, which they said was worrying.

The surprise visit by the committee yesterday was in response to audit queries raised by Auditor General Edward Ouko in the reports of the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 financial years.

The committee accused the county administration of failing to put measures in place to ensure new medical equipment was used to alleviate patients' suffering. This, despite the county spending about Sh95 million annually to pay for the equipment.

Lying idle

“People are dying and yet equipment is lying idle at the facilities,” said Mr Wandanyi.

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At Jaramogi, the region's largest facility, equipment lay idle in various units, including the intensive care one.

The PAC committee said the trend was a cause for concern and faulted the county for not employing additional staff to operate the equipment.

It also faulted the county for failure to properly manage revenue generated from medical facilities, with county officials saying Jaramogi alone generated about Sh600,000 daily.

“We are also wondering who audits the county and the structures they have in place to ensure that the revenue it generates from the equipment is utilised properly,” said Wandayi.

But the facility’s medical superintendent Peter Otieno and the county executive member for health Rosemary Obara defended the hospital saying it did not have enough staff.

“We have a big shortage of staff to operate the equipment, but about 90 per cent of it is working,” said Mr Otieno.

The equipment included digital x-rays, renal equipment as well as an oxygen plant.

Molo MP Kuria Kimani, however, said the amount the county was generating was enough to employ additional personnel to operate the equipment.

"We are piling a lot of pressure on Kenyatta National Hospital yet these facilities have good equipment that are just lying idle," said Mr Kimani.

At the County Hospital, the committee noted that there was no standby generator to run the equipment.

The committee also expressed concern over the failure to complete a maternity ward that had stalled for more than five years.


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