County governments say no free masks

Friday April 10 2020

CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (right) receives hand sanitisers manufactured by Kenya Pipeline Company from KPC chairman John Ngumi (left) and Petroleum and Mining PS Andrew Kamau in Nairobi on March 31, 2020. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


County governments have ruled out distribution of free face masks saying there are no funds to procure them.

Council of Governors Chairman Governor Wycliffe Oparanya says there is too much pressure on county governments to give residents free face masks to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

The county chief said in his Kakamega County, for instance, some 2.1 million face masks would be needed to be given to residents

But Mr Oparanya said Thursday counties have no money to spend on the kits for the masses and only vulnerable groups will be considered.

"I want to say this, there are no free masks. It's up to each of us to take the responsibility to buy a mask and protect ourselves from infection since counties have no resources to sustain such an expenditure," said Mr Oparanya.

He announced that county government had decided to give incentive payments to health workers in the region for the sacrifices they were making in fighting the spread of the coronavirus.


He extended leave for non-essential staff at the county by 15 days to avoid congestion in county offices.

The governor flagged off a consignment of 1,500 tonnes of hand washing soap, dispensers for safe drinking water, detergents and disinfectants from the Evidence Action which targeting to reach 2.1 million people in nine counties.

The targeted counties are Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia, Bungoma, Siaya, Trans-Nzoia, HomaBay, Uasin Gishu and Migori.

Vulnerable families in the regions will receive a free bar of soap for four months along with other kits meant to promote hygiene.

In Vihiga, the county government will spend Sh77 million to procure ventilators in the absence of an intensive care unit during the fight against Covid-19, Governor Wilber Ottichilo said, adding he has called for additional help from the national government.

Dr Ottichilo said the money will be used to buy ventilators for use by Covid-19 patients because the county lacks an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and a High Dependency Unit (HDU).

In Nyamira, Governor John Nyagarama on Thursday released 100-litre water tanks to be disturbed in the county’s 20 wards.

The tanks costing Sh300, 000 will form part of the county’s hand wash stations and will be added to others donated by well-wishers.

Mr Nyagarama said the tanks will be placed strategically in high human traffic areas like hospitals and markets in an effort aimed at preventing spread of covid-19.

In Kisii, Kibos Sugar Company Limited of Kisumu has donated 3,000 litres of sanitiser to the county government to ensure sanitation cited as critical to combat Covid-19.

The alcohol-based sanitisers will be evenly distributed to various vulnerable groups, including boda boda operators, traders and members of the public across the county.

In Homa Bay, the county government intends to procure facemasks to distribute to boda boda riders.

County Public Health Officer James Kabaka and Disaster Management Principal Officer Henry Okidi said the sanitisers should be used by both the rider and passenger.

Reported by Benson Amadala, Derick Luvega, Ruth Mbula and George Odiwuor