Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o has appointed himself the County Executive Committee member for Health in an acting capacity as part of his plan to resuscitate the troubled sector.
In a mini-Cabinet reshuffle carried out Friday morning, Prof Nyong’o replaced Judith Miguda Attyang -- who he has moved to the Business, Co-operatives and Marketing docket -- as the CEC in what he termed a move to improve service delivery.
In a statement by County Secretary Godfrey Kigochi, Dr Nyong’o nominated Dr Joyce Atieno Osogo the CEC for Roads, Public Works and Transport, replacing Mr Thomas Ondijo who was sacked on October 16, 2019.
Also axed from the Governor's cabinet during that period was Alice Moraa (Energy and Industrialisation) and Richard Ogendo (Business, Co-operatives and Marketing) whose docket is now held by Ms Attyang.
Dr Osogo is a specialist in project planning and implementation.
“In the meantime, the Department of Health and Sanitation will be managed by the Governor himself before the appointment of a substantive CECM,” said Mr Kigochi.
This is the second time a Health CEC in Prof Nyong’o’s administration is being moved for failing to adequately manage the docket after Rosemary Obara was shown the door last year.
His move to manage the health department himself comes weeks after numerous challenges hit Kisumu's health sector, threatening to bring down his administration.
In the recent past Kisumu residents, MCAs and a section of area MPs have been pushing Dr Nyong’o to resign or face impeachment following what they term as failure by the county boss to handle woes in the health sector.
For more than a week in February, various health facilities closed after medics downed their tools over a pay dispute.
There have also been concerns about lack of drugs in hospitals, shared beds, questionable implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC), lack of food and ambulances.
While a section of MCAs called for Dr Nyong’o’s impeachment, activists called for the Health function to be reverted to the national government for better management.
Last week, a report by an ad-hoc committee of the Kisumu County Assembly painted a grim picture of the county's health sector.
The issues include inadequate human resources, capacity gaps, unaccounted-for funds, debt, and disconnected water supply.
The report, which was adopted by the Assembly last Thursday, pointed to more challenges that have bedevilled what is arguably the most crucial sector in Governor Nyong’o’s administration.
It is not clear how long his management of the Health docket will last.
Already, he is crafting a Bill seeking to transform the largest county referral hospital, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH), into a parastatal.
The move is largely being viewed as an opportunity to attract more funding and to deal with various challenges the facility has been facing, including growing demand from neighbouring counties.
The county boss is also pegging his hopes on the implementation of the recently passed Kisumu County Health Bill 2020 as his ''silver bullet'' to solve health financing which, to him, is the source of a number of challenges witnessed in health facilities.