Kenya: The stand-off between the national government and the Council of Governors (CoG) over the Sh38 billion medical equipment programme for health facilities in counties may soon be resolved.
The Ministry of Health and CoG representatives met last week and ironed out sticking issues that have caused some governors to reject signing a Memorandum of Understanding with companies that have been selected to supply the specialised medical equipment.
Under the deal, public health institutions in each county will start receiving an assortment of equipment including for theatre, Intensive Care Unit, dialysis, laboratory and radiology. Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia confirmed yesterday that his officials had met CoG representatives led by Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi, who heads the Finance Committee, and Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, who heads the Health Committee.
"The meeting managed to sort out the misunderstandings about the equipment project and CoG representatives were satisfied with the outcome. We are happy to move forward on this so that Kenyans can benefit from the medical services," said Mr Macharia (above).
He added: "We expect a final word from the council after they have been briefed on the agreement and we are confident of a positive outcome to allow Kenyans receive specialised services in the counties."
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So far, at least 30 governors have signed the MoU and Macharia expressed confidence the rest will sign once the CoG approves the agreement.
Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka said he had signed the MoU but there were few issues to be ironed out. He added that the equipment would help save lives in his county.
Attempts to reach CoG Chair and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto or his Wajir and Kisumu counterparts to comment on the deal were unsuccessful as their phones were off.
Mandera Governor Ali Roba told The Standard he is ready to sign the deal to address the acute shortage of medical equipment in his county. He said many residents are forced to travel hundreds of kilometres to access the services. "For Mandera, which has suffered many years of marginalisation and suffering, we cannot afford to ignore this initiative. If there are any issues of concern, we will work to resolve them as we go along," he said.