Kakamega residents have approved the transfer of the stalled Sh6 billion County Teaching and Referral Hospital to the national government.
Residents said the national government has the capacity to fast-track the completion and equipping of the facility.
They gave their views during a public participation forum on the Kakamega County Health Services Bill, 2021, held at the Kakamega Town social hall yesterday.
“The county should speed up this process so that the facility can be operationalised. It will help us cut the cost of travelling to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret and Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi in search of specialised treatment,” said Wycliffe Lihanda from Shinyalu Sub-County.
Maureen Mwanje from Mumias East said if the county had transferred the facility to the national government earlier it would have been completed by now.
“The hospital will get direct funding from the national government and in turn reduce pressure on local health facilities,” Mwanje said.
Earlier, MCAs clashed over the transfer of the facility to the national government. Some suggested the county government should source funds to complete the project, while others endorsed the idea to surrender it. The discussions shaped an executive and assembly consultative meeting in Kisumu last Thursday chaired by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.
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“The county should source extra funds from donors, partners, or even a loan from the national government to complete the facility,” said Chemuche MCA Jason Lutomia.
Isukha East MCA Samuel Limisi proposed the national government should give back the money the county spent on the hospital. Timothy Aseka, a nominated MCA, said the interest of the county should come first since the facility was a local project.
Speaking during the public participation yesterday, Health Executive Collins Matemba said it will require Sh13 billion annually to run the Level Six Hospital. He said other sectors will not be developed if the county government goes on with the project.
“The county receives Sh15 billion from the national government annually against Sh13 billion expected to run the hospital.
“The Constitution allows for the transfer of county functions back to the national government under special circumstances,” said Matemba.
He continued: “Upon the completion of the facility, the national government will control 60 per cent of the shares of the facility and the county government will control 40 per cent.”
Matemba said the facility would offer 3,000 direct jobs and more than 5,000 indirect jobs.
The hospital is expected to serve patients from Kakamega and the neighbouring counties of Kisumu, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga and Uasin Gishu.