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Millions wasted as health facilities lie idle

Health & Science
 Deserted Getembe Dispensary in Kisii County. Several health centres constructed using CDF have been deserted despite several promises by the county government to equip them. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Kisii County has more than 30 unused health centres built through the Constituency Development Fund.

Due to failure to recruit staff to run the facilities, some of the health centres have been lying idle for five years.

The National Government Constituencies Development Fund Act, 2015, limited spending of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) cash to projects falling under the functions of the national government in the Constitution.

Initially, among the most common projects for CDF included road repairs, construction of health centres and schools, as well as sinking boreholes and purchase of waters tanks.

Notable projects

In Kisii, the most notable projects initiated between 2007-2013 by the CDF committees was the construction of health centres and dispensaries that were later handed over to the county government at the inception of the devolved units.

A spot check by The Standard has revealed that a number of health facilities constructed through CDF are lying idle because of lack of nurses and other cadres of employees. Apart from ageing due to neglect, some of the facilities have been vandalised and would cost more in repairs.

In South Mugirango, six health centres, complete with staff quarters, were constructed.

They include Nyakeioborera, Nyahenge, Riomoara, and Ekerengo. Nyakeiborera is now hosting an Administration Police camp, against the wishes of local residents.

“We requested the MP to put up a health centre that was to serve more than 1,500 people in this area. Those who planned to convert it into an AP camp don’t understand our pain,” said Peterson Ogutu, a resident of Bogetenega ward.

Five of the six dispensaries remain deserted although they have been completed and even have electricity. Each staff house was built at a cost of Sh1.5 million. The cost of the health centres varied.

In Kitutu Chache South, six health centres that were constructed by CDF cash also remain unutilised.

Getembe, Raganga, and Mwamogesa health centres have been lying idle for almost three years. Residents have turned the green grounds into grazing fields while youths use the buildings as smoking zones.

It was anticipated that the building and equipping of the health centres would improve healthcare services at the grassroots.

The Getembe Health Centre was supposed to serve the larger population of Nubians living in the area. It is built in the heart of Nyanchwa estate, which is home to more than 20,000 residents. The hospital building has more than 20 rooms with fully furnished wards.

Yasmin Baseer, a resident of Getembe, said the facility was opened two years ago but no services are rendered.

“It is unfortunate that we go queuing at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital yet it could have been easy and prudent for us to seek services nearer to our homes,” said Baseer.

In Nyaribari Masaba sub-county, Ikorongo, Metembe, and Gekonge health centres were put up by CDF.

However, the county government said it did not have staff to operationalise such facilities.

The executive committee member in charge of health, Sarah Omache, explained that human resource remained a major challenge in actualising the dream.

Budget allocation

According to Governor James Ongwae, his government was to increase budgetary allocations to the health sector to enable the establishment and operationalisation of additional health facilities at the grassroots, including those built through CDF and other agencies, to bring services closer to the people.

The governor said the county would continue to engage development partners, both locally and internationally, to help actualise its development agenda.

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