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Sh67 million Oxygen plant to be constructed at Kericho Referral Hospital

Kericho County has stepped up efforts to deal with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic by allocating a total of Sh67 million to the construction of an oxygen plant that is expected to solve the oxygen needs of patients in Intensive Care (ICU) and High Dependency Units (HDU).

While unveiling the budget for the financial year 2021-2022, County Executive Committee in-charge of Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Patrick Mutai stated that there was need to equip the health facilities in Kericho County to avert a possible looming crisis due to covid-19 pandemic which has affected Kenyans for the last 15 months.

“As we grapple with the effects of Covid-19, we have decided to construct an oxygen plant so that we are self-sufficient as far as oxygen needs are concerned and our patients will be well taken care of in our facilities and patients should not be transferred from Kericho hospitals because of lack of oxygen or other vital facilities,” said Dr. Mutai.

The CEC lauded the good work of the health workers who have been on the frontline in fighting the pandemic promising to provide them with the latest tools and equipment for the protection and prevention so as to continue safely carrying out their critical medical obligations during the pandemic.

“I propose Sh184.4 million be allocated as recurrent transfers to the seven facilities in the County in the form of the Facility Improvement Fund (FIF). I, therefore, allocate Sh2.2 billion as forecasted recurrent expenditure and Sh230 million for development,” Dr. Mutai said.

He added that all hospital beds that required piping and oxygen would be fixed to ensure patients are treated without hitches in all health facilities in the County.

Dr. Mutai also reported that by Friday 25th, 2021, a total of 16,897 people had been vaccinated against the received 22,000 Covid-19 doses. He further said of the 12,623 jabs administered during the first dose, 61 per cent went to males and 39 per cent females while the 4,724 administered for the second dose represented by 59 per cent males and 41 per cent females.

“The government is however hoping to obtain more doses of the vital jabs soon to protect more people from the disease,” said Dr. Mutai.

Meanwhile, he stated that other than the mass vaccination efforts, the government has also imposed other containment measures against the virus including a national wide curfew, a ban on public gatherings, and the mandatory wearing of face masks.

“The current containment measures imposed on the 13 Lake region and Western counties including Kericho County will ultimately negate the gains on the economic rebound particularly on the micro small and medium enterprises (SME),” added Dr. Mutai.

In his budget speech, Dr. Mutai also pointed out that Sh53.6 million has been allocated for the completion of incomplete health centers and dispensaries, ablution blocks for health facilities, and refurbishment and maintenance of existing facilities which would be shared equally among the 29 wards across the County.

The Health CEC Mr Bernabas Ng’eno stressed that there in need to boost and improve access to quality and sustainable healthcare in the County and therefore there is a need to equip and operationalize already constructed health facilities which he allocated Sh59.8 million for purchase of medical and dental equipment, equip maternity wings, laboratories and surgical wards in all level 2 and 3 facilities across the County.

Speaking on the sidelines of the budget reading event, CEC weighed in on the issue of improving the health sector in the County saying the budget was in favour of the sector adding that with well-equipped facilities, the Covid-19 pandemic would be easy to grapple with.

“We are also trying our level best to sort out the issue of lack of water in our hospitals and to also ensure that all our facilities are well equipped with medicine and food,” said Mr Ng’eno.

By Kibe Mburu/Mercyline Chepkemoi

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