EIGHT COUNTIES

North Rift drafts budgets for Covid-19, economic recovery

State requires each county to have at least 300 Covid-19 isolation beds.

In Summary

• Governors in the North Rift Economic Bloc have agreed to invest more resources in healthcare, infrastructure, water and education, sectors affected by Covid-19 and floods.

• Much of the development funds will go to expanding healthcare project. ach county must have at least 300 isolation beds for Covid-19 patients.

Kapsabet County Referral Hospital under expansion by the Nandi county government.
HEALTH PRIORITY: Kapsabet County Referral Hospital under expansion by the Nandi county government.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Counties in the North Rift have realigned their 2020-21 budgets to provide additional funds to fight Covid-19 and revive stalled projects to kick-start their economies.

Governors for the eight counties under the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb)have agreed to invest more resources in healthcare, infrastructure, water and education, key sectors affected by the coronavirus and floods.

All eight counties will devote much of the their development budgets to expand healthcare projects. The state requires every county to have at least 300 Covid-19 isolation beds.

At a meeting between governors and President Kenyatta two weeks ago, it was agreed each county would increase its capacity because the number of cases is increasing. 

“We are moving to ensure we have adequate facilities and this requires extra funding by counties and the national government," Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago said. He is the chairman of Noreb.

He spoke as the county assembly passed the second supplementary budget for 2019-20. It also covers salaries for newly recruited health workers.

The approved estimates for 2019-20 stand at Sh11.4 billion, including Sh5.7 billion for development and Sh5.64 billion for recurrent expenditure. 

The supplementary budget calls for an additional Sh125 million from the Treasury and Sh6 million from the Danish International Development Agency (Danida).

Mandago’s annual budget for the 2020-21 will also be presented to the assembly for approval.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang will be seeking extra funding to expand health facilities and set up Covid-19 isolation facilities in each of the five subcounties. They will also be better equipped to handle other medical issues.

He will seek financing to complete the Sh430 million Kapsabet Mother and Child Unit at Kapsabet County Referral Hospital, which is being upgraded.

Governors Patrick Khaemba of Trans Nzoia, Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet and John Lonyangapuo of West Pokot also said they would invest more in healthcare during this financial year.

(Edited by V. Graham)