JOHN MULWA: Sonko’s publicity stunt betrays his failure on healthcare

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko during a past visit to a city health facility. /COURTESY
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko during a past visit to a city health facility. /COURTESY

When reports of the young man who had to smuggle his baby out of hospital because he couldn't afford the bill, many Kenyans demanded a swift response from philanthropists and politicians.

The good news is that someone responded. The bad news is that the person who responded was the same person supposed to cushion the masses from such expenses. This left bitter-sweet feelings.

The big question, is how many more are going through such situations; mothers who don't have the energy nor the guts to smuggle out their babies? Many are locked up in hospitals because they are unable to pay their bills.

We celebrate the heroic story but in a country with a multi trillion budget it’s a shame. The government talked about free maternal care across all hospitals in the county but the reality is that people are still suffering and being charged.

As part of the Nairobi county health policy, Mike Sonko should run an affordable health insurance. We have many counties that have managed to have a health insuarance policy working well, such as Kitui, Kisumu and Makueni.

Nairobi has the numbers to have a working affordable system but who should pilot such a project if the Governor finds pleasure in rescuing people for his political mileage instead of forecasting the medical needs of his voters and working towards a sustainable solution.

Devolution of the health sector was probably the biggest mistake Kenyans made during the historic constitutional change. It has been mess after mess with frequent strikes from nurses and Kenyans agree that they have a valid cry. It’s important for the county governments to honour promises and to their health workers.

Despite the nurses strikes devolution has led to further back tracking in development of healthcare. For the first time we have a government drug agency stopping all medical supplies because of failure to meet payments by the county government.

Mike Sonko used this to fuel his campaign against Evans Kidero but the plight wasn't addressed as it has become worse under his regime. Nairobi health centers now have cases of missing babies, while the mortality rate is alarming.

Report by an international governance body sites corruption to be the main reason for poor service delivery in Nairobi county. Inside sources have claimed all contracts with in the county have gone to selected individuals who are interested in making money and not delivering services. This has led to the poor standards and lack of drugs in the county.

A seating MCA lamented on how the county is run by Sonko’s close circle and rules are enforced by powerful people who operate like goons. They are controlling even city council toilets, bus stages and dump sites.

Other issues include the high fines imposed by the city council on petty wrong doings such a litter, operating boda boda with in the CBD and a lot more. This has led to many people spending time in remand for no good reason. As a human and a person who pledged to address the cry of the common man, he should review his mode of punishment.

Facts are Kenyans want a conclusive solution to matters of general health, and this includes access to clean water and sanitation. Sonko has managed to water flowerbeds running tens of kilometers while human beings who voted for him lack water and basic sanitation.

Kenyans want more than media stunts by elected leaders. Governors were elected to provide umbrella solutions not to bite on social media for trending topics to seek temporary solutions.

Mike Sonko and all his fellow governors should give a comprehensive health plan.

John Mulwa is a governance expert and political commentator.

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