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Baringo Governor Cheboi sends embattled county health boss Toromo packing

RIFT VALLEY
By Michael Ollinga and Patrick Kibet | September 28th 2015
KMPDU National Treasurer Daisy Korir (right) addresses journalists in Eldoret. Medics condemned Baringo’s Chief Officer in charge of Health Gideon Toromo for threatening their colleagues. [PHOTOS: KEVIN TUNOI/standard]

KABARNET: Governor Benjamin Cheboi has finally replaced embattled Chief Officer for Health (COH) Gideon Toromo.

Dr Toromo’s slot was taken by Chief Officer for Finance Richard Koech in an acting capacity.

Toromo was last week accused of threatening Chief Executive Committee Member for Health Moses Atuko and doctors at Kabarnet County Hospital following alleged differences.

The governor also appointed Gerishon Abalakwa as acting medical superintendent, replacing Kays Muruka.

The move by Cheboi follows protracted differences between the chief officer and doctors, which threatened to cripple the hospital.

Both Toromo and Muruka have been sent on leave as the county government moves to address the root cause of the problem.

Earlier in the day, medical practitioners in North Rift called for Toromo’s sacking over alleged harassment and intimidation of medical workers.

The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) and Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) North Rift chapters, also called for Toromo’s prosecution.

Their call came following last week’s incident at Kabarnet County Referral Hospital in which Toromo allegedly threatened to sack doctors at the facility for allegedly disrespecting him and confronted Atuko.

The unions’ leadership said they were in possession of audio recording in which Toromo is heard allegedly heard hurling insults at doctors and the hospital’s medical superintendent asking them to leave ‘his’ county if they could not respect his directives.

LYNCH MEDICS

“There has been continued interference by the COH who has been abusing and threatening to lynch the medics on unfounded grounds forcing the doctors to flee the facility and we need him to be charged in court,” said KMA Chairperson Eldoret Division, Francis Ndiangui.

In the recording, a man said to be Toromo is heard telling the medical superintendent to write a letter explaining why a doctor at the facility disrespected him.

“Toromo personally transferred a patient from Nakuru to Kabarnet but a doctor (Ludia Muttakwa) at the facility advised for a referral to Eldoret for specialised treatment because they did not have the required equipment, but instead of assisting in the transfer he (Toromo) caused a scene and threatened all medics present that he would sack them,” explained Ndiangui.

KMPDU North Rift Chairman, Gilbert Kiyeng, said they would not allow their members to work in any county under intimidation because this would impede effective service delivery.

But Toromo insisted Dr Muttakwa must be taken through a disciplinary process and accused her of gross misconduct.

“She refused to attend to a patient and when I tried to resolve the issue she turned violent and shouted at me. She went ahead and incited other medical officers, who instead joined efforts with their boss,” he said.

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