By NATION Team
Posted Wednesday, June 2 2010 at 18:54
Dispensaries put up by billions of shillings from devolved funds in constituencies are barely functional due to inadequate staff and equipment.
Although large amounts of money from the CDF has been spent on the programme, political differences among former and current MPs, lack of nurses, clinical officers and medical supplies has meant that the facilities in most areas are inert.
The government is in the process of recruiting 4,200 nurses for constituencies, but the number is unlikely to satisfy the appetite for medical staff who also should include physiotherapists and doctors.
In Molo and Kuresoi constituencies, only 14 out of the 31 health centres built using the CDF kitty are operational.
According to the Kuresoi CDF chairman Isaac Ngeno, his committee has built four health centres in Mau summit, Sirikwa, Kaplamai and Tinet at a cost of Sh7.6 million.
In Molo constituency Sh16.2 has been used to build 27 health centres. Ten have stalled, according to the CDF manager Benard Mbugua.
“When the government pinpointed some of the areas in the constituency as part of Mau Forest, we found no need of continuing with them,” Mr Mbugua said.
In Nakuru Town constituency, Sh16.2 million has so far been received through the economic stimulus programme to upgrade Mirugi Kariuki Dispensary, named after a former area MP.
Although the project has started, another Sh3.8 million is required to equip it.
Latest records from the CDF office show Sh1.5 million was allocated to build a maternity ward at Barut West ward of the Rift Valley general hospital. The hospital in Nakuru is referral and serves the entire Rift Valley Province. And yet the project is complete, according to CDF manager Njoroge Gichuhi.
In Laikipia West, of the 26 health projects started since the inception of the CDF programme, Rumuruti sub-district hospital was the biggest beneficiary of funds until Ndindika got Sh30 million Economic Stimulus funding. The dispensary received Sh7 million between April 2004 and September 2007.
In Coast Province, two CDF dispensaries in Kisauni have taken much time to complete in what many believe to be political reasons.
Maweni dispensary was put up during former MP Anania Mwaboza’s tenure in 2007, but three years later the dispensary is yet to open. Instead, it has become home for goats with the stench of their urine all over the veranda.
A watchman sleeps in the six-room building, which seems abandoned, with piles of dry plants strewn all over the veranda. Area CDF chairman Hamisi Mwaguya says Sh1.7 million has been speIn Garsen constituency, establishment of the facilities has been marred with allegations of political interference.
Five dispensaries worth Sh8 million established at Mikameni, Kulesa, Galili, Matangeni and Kinyandu are believed to have been built in areas where other health facilities exist.
“In Mekameni, residents could be served by Wema Missionary Hospital. The dispensary should have been built at Mnazini area to serve residents who have to walk five kilometres to seek medical services,” a civil servant, who sought anonymity, said.
Mr Omar Shobe Wario, a Galili Village resident, questioned a Sh1.6 million tender for the on-going construction of the Galili Dispensary.
But CDF committee member Abdi Salah Raghe said regulations and procedures governing the implementation of CDF projects were followed in construction of the dispensaries.
“All dispensaries were allocated Sh1.6 million and they were proposals from the people, which we approved,” said Mr Raghe.
The district medical officer of health, Dr Gichu Muthoni, said that the dispensaries have to be operated by at least four nurses, and that there is a possibility of them remaining closed until the issues of staff is addressed.
Over in northern Kenya, the politics of putting up health centres against the priorities of the local population is souring relations.
In Isiolo North constituency, the residents of Oldonyiro Division chased away a contractor constructing a sewer system to be connected to the new maternity ward built using CDF funds.
The residents complained that the maternity was not their priority in the area since they have a functioning health facility, which also has a maternity wing.
The maternity ward, which sunk more than Sh2.8 million, has now been reduced to a white elephant.
About 20 nurses employed recently are idling at Isiolo District Hospital since most of the dispensaries are not complete while others have not been handed over to the Ministry of Health.
At Korbesa, about 230 kilometres from Isiolo Town, a maternity ward erected at a cost of Sh2.5 million has not been completed eight years since construction work begun in 2003.
Another stalled project is at Bula Pesa, a slum in Isiolo Town. The dispensary gobbled up Sh2.3 million and is still yawning for an additional Sh200,000.
Lack of staff has been a big challenge. A dispensary built at Mata Arba at a cost of Sh2.05 million could not be commissioned.
There have also been complaints regarding the quality of work done. Isiolo medical officer of health Steven Kiluva said the ministry could not take over a dispensary that was complete because it lacked beds, shelves and a pharmacy while the drainage system and toilets had not been built.
However, it is not all gloom. A two-room dispensary at Malkagalla, which was built at a cost of Sh2.8 million, is operating and locals are now getting medical attention instead of having to travel to Merti Health Centre.
And at Bulesa, a Sh1.5 million dispensary started operating last year.
Reports by George Sayagie, Simon Siele, David Macharia, Philip Muyanga, Galgalo Bocha and Hassan Huka
Dispensaries lying idle countrywide for lack of staff, tools and medicine
By NATION Team