Row rages over idle dispensary turned into farmers’ feed store


Sitian dispensary in Kipkelion East, where a resident has decided to use the idle health facility to store maize stalks [Courtesy]

Three dispensaries in Kipkelion East constituency built through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and handed over to the county government are yet to begin operations.

Sitian Dispensary in Kedowa, Kimugul ward, which was built in the 2016/2017 financial year, came to the limelight yesterday after it emerged that a farmer had converted it into a cattle feed store.

Ewat Dispensary in the same ward is also in a dilapidated state. Residents who would have benefited from Ewat and Cheres dispensaries have to travel long distances to seek medical services.

Joseph Koskei, a farmer, said he decided to temporarily store maize stalks for his cattle in the dispensary near his home after it remained unused for four years.

“After harvesting my maize, I decided to store the stalks at the dispensary’s verandah to shelter the cattle feed from rains, and as I prepared to bring a chaff cutter to slash them into silage,” he said.

Mr Koskei, who was among the dispensary’s committee members, said he took advantage of the facility as a way of securing it from vandals.

“I have been keeping an eye on the dispensary since the windowpanes were removed by vandals who have also attempted, on several occasions, to remove the doors,” he said.

Even then, Stanely Kipsang said residents were dismayed by the idle state of the dispensary.

“The dispensary is located in a centralised place but we are disappointed that patients are still being forced to travel almost seven kilometers to the nearest health facility in Chesinende, Kedowa or Londiani trading centres for treatment,” he said.

Kipkelion East MP Joseph Limo blamed the county government for failing to take over and open the three dispensaries. According to him, the situation arose due to the failure by the county to equip the health centre with medicine and other supplies as well as the deployment of health workers.

“The dispensaries were constructed before the renaming of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NGCDF) after the Council of Governors successfully challenged in court the use of CDF to launch projects under devolved functions,” said Limo.

“The law, however, did not provide a transitional clause allowing the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) to provide funds to complete projects initiated under CDF.”

According to the MP, his office completed and handed over five dispensaries which include, Tilolwet, Kahurura, Chepseon, Kapsenda and Sitian. But County Health Chief Officer David  Ekuawam said the dispensaries were yet to be officially handed over to the county.

“Besides that, the health facilities didn’t score above the minimum standard outlined under the Quality Standards for Kenya Essential Package of Health touching on dispensaries and clinics,” he said.

The system is based on a five-point scoring structure. A score of 1 or 0 per cent is the lowest while five or 100 per cent is the highest possible score.

“The facilities are required to comply with health laws and regulations, license to operate and physical address registered,” he said. It must also have safe water, waste disposal and management systems, functional drainage systems, lighting, security among others.  

Limo disgareed.

“How come they did not issue the requirements during the opening of Chesinde Health Centre which my office had to pressure the county government to open late last year?” he asked.