PERSISTENT HEALTH CRISIS

Sh3.4bn Health vote put on hold after MCAs break over Covid-19

Sittings suspended in compliance with Uhuru's directive

In Summary

• The health and sanitation sector is in dire straits – there is a serious drugs shortage and in-patients do not have adequate food.

• Minority leader says reconvening the assembly after a week is wishful thinking as the trend in countries where Covid-19 was first reported has been to issue lockdowns.

County assembly speaker George Ndotto explains to journalists why the sittings were suspended.
JUSTIFICATION: County assembly speaker George Ndotto explains to journalists why the sittings were suspended.
Image: Musembi Nzengu

Coronavirus has forced Kitui MCAs to suspend sittings before passing Sh11.3 billion supplementary budget in which an additional Sh100 million would have been injected to the ailing health sector.

The Health department sought Sh3.4 billion in the 2019-20 supplementary budget presented by Governor Charity Ngilu’s administration.

The health and sanitation sector is in dire straits – there is a serious drugs shortage and in-patients do not have adequate food and other provisions.

 

Assembly speaker George Ndotto told the media on Tuesday they suspended the sittings for a week in compliance with President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

He said the assembly was also yet to discuss the county fiscal strategy paper and the report on the vetting of the members of the county public service board.

The assembly reconvenes on March 25. “We will interrogate the documents and once we decide on them, then the assembly will proceed on recess,” Ndotto said.

Minority leader Alex Nganga faulted the suspension of the sittings before the passing of the supplementary budget.

Nganga said this will hurt the people of Kitui more so the sick who require medical attention.

“The supplementary budget was not been passed yet our hospitals do not have drugs and that will remain so until the supplementary budget is passed. No one knows when that will happen,” he said.

Nganga asserted that the plan to

Reconvening the assembly after a week was wishful thinking as the trend in countries where Covid-19 was initially reported has been to issue lockdowns, the ward rep said, noting that the situation is deteriorating.

The same is likely to be replicated in Kenya, he warned.

Majority leader Peter Kilonzo was of a different view, accusing Nganga of unnecessarily crying foul.

“By the time I moved the motion to suspend our sittings the budget document was not ready. Could we have passed a supplementary budget which was not there?”  Kilonzo asked.

He said he was optimistic that by the time the assembly reconvenes, the supplementary budget will be ready and will be passed.

“Nganga appeared to be out of touch with reality or he is being misled by his Narc party members in the assembly budget committee. The budget document does not have any vote line for drugs,” he said.

His view was that even if the supplementary budget was passed, it will not help in delivering drugs to hospitals.

 

– mwaniki fm