The United Nations has deployed 50 volunteer health experts to 14 counties worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said the volunteers who include Registered Nurses, Laboratory Technologists, Nursing Officers, Pharmaceutical Technologists, Public Health Officers and Registered Clinical Officers will help boost county and national government’s response to the pandemic.
In a speech read on his behalf by Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Abdul Bahari Ali in Kajiado town Wednesday, Wamalwa said the Programme will be implemented by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the State Department for Devolution with support from the Governments of Finland, Sweden and Italy.
The initiative will see the 50 health volunteer experts work for a period of six months in the 14 counties to help them build resilience and enhance their response to the pandemic.
Targeted counties include: Busia, Garissa, Taita Taveta, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kisumu, Machakos, Mandera, Migori, Nairobi, Uasin Gishu and Wajir.
Wamalwa noted that the counties were selected due to their proximity to counties experiencing the highest numbers of infections while others are major transit corridors thus are most vulnerable to the disease.
He added that border counties and those with high numbers of infections require strategic interventions to ensure that cross-boundary transmission is curtailed.
“Some of the county governments are located at the borders with neighboring countries and are thus home to major transit corridors, while others border counties with the highest Covid – 19 prevalence, thus their likelihood to have higher cases of infections, yet their capacity to address the problem is constrained,” said the CS.
UN Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee said the war against Covid-19 requires a combined and coordinated strategy in order to curb the spread of the infections.
He noted that the programme is part of a Covid-19 response support initiative for counties spearheaded by the UNDP in partnership with its donors.
Chatterjee, emphasized that interventions enacted through the programme will mitigate both the spread and impact of Covid-19 by increasing capacity of the healthcare system, building resilience of vulnerable populations and bolstering social protection.
“This crisis can only be managed through partnerships and we stand with the Government of Kenya in its efforts to battle the pandemic that’s why today we are commissioning 50 health volunteers to 14 counties to help boost their capacity,” he said.
Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku said five isolation centres have been put up at the Kajiado Referral Hospital, Kitengela Sub County Hospital, Ole Kasasi Health Centre, Namanga Health Centre and Oloitokitok Sub County Hospital.
Ngong Sub County Hospital, Ng’atataek Health Centre and the KMTC Oloitokitok have been set aside as Covid- 19 hospitals and treatment centres. Health services that were being offered there have been referred to neighboring facilities.
Lenku revealed that there were 20 ICU beds already in place with plans to scale up the number to 50 in place.
“We have just achieved the mandatory 300 beds capacity at our Isolation Centres. But owing to our unique situation over the virus transmission, we are set to have a total of 700 beds which are currently being made by our Vocational Training Centres (VTCs),” said the Governor.
Kajiado county has so far recorded 209 positive cases with 4 deaths.
By Rop Janet