By Peter Mutai
Water supply to Kericho District Hospital has been cut due to unpaid bills amounting to Sh6.4 billion.
Kericho Water and Sanitation Company (Kewasco) personnel led by Managing Director Nelson Bosuben disconnected the water supply yesterday, causing panic among patients and medical staff.
Bosuben, accompanied by the company’s Commercial Manager Constance Langat, said attempts to have the hospital clear the outstanding bill, which has accumulated over the past two years, has been fruitless.
The MD said the company’s board of directors held a meeting last month over the outstanding bill where it was resolved water supply to the health facility be disconnected.
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"The board of directors resolved in a letter dated February 4 that water supply to the hospital be disconnected as the bills were threatening to ground Kewasco’s operations," he said.
The letter which was signed by the board’s chairperson Maureen Nyigei and Bosuben noted the water bill has accumulated over a long period of time and wondered why the hospital management has not taken any initiative to settle it.
Bosuben said the company could have disconnected water supply to the district hospital on March 2, but gave them a two weeks grace period to settle the outstanding water bill.
Kewasco supplies more than 4,000 cubic metres to the hospital monthly. It spends more than Sh200,000 on water bills. Yesterday, officials of the private water company visited Kericho DC Samuel Njora to have the administrator intervene over the matter.
By the time of going to press, the hospital was relying on water stored in one of its huge water tanks to run its operations.
The water disconnection could force the hospital to suspend its major operations, including cooking for the patients, laundry, surgical operations and general cleaning.
The commercial manger said water supply will not resume until the management pays the arrears in full or at least clear half of the bill.
She said the company has notified the management of Lake Victoria South Water Service Board and the Ministry of Health over the outstanding bill and its move to disconnect supply.
Efforts to get the hospital’s Medical Superintendent Betty Langat to comment on the matter were fruitless as her cell phone went answered.
Many Government institutions in Kenya owe utility service providers huge amounts of money.