A section of Mandera County Assembly members (MCAs) have accused the executive of locally marginalising communities by failing to equally and equitably distribute resources.
The county lawmakers cited a report by the assembly’s Health Services committee tabled on Wednesday as proof to their allegations.
“The executive wing of the county government has the mandate to ensure equitable distribution of resources across the county but things are different in Mandera,” lamented Lafey MCA Abdullahi Siyad Adan.
According to the MCA, the Governor Roba-led administration has concentrated on developing other areas of the county apart from Lafey and Banisa.
The report indicated health services in Mandera East, Mandera West and Mandera South had improved in the past five years but Banisa and Lafey recorded little improvement.
Mr Adan said as the people’s representatives, they will not hesitate in seeking alternative means of getting their share of devolution.
“The Constitution is clear on sharing resources but if the executive does not want to follow the law then we shall seek other alternative means,” he said without revealing what the other alternatives are.
His Arabia ward counterpart Abdiaziz Dakat decried what he said is poor infrastructure in health facilities in Lafey and Banisa sub-counties.
“In Lafey, they use insecurity [as an excuse] to deny the locals services. What excuse can be used to deny those in Banisa their portion of devolution?” posed Mr Dakat.
The report tabled by Ashabito MCA Shaban Hassan Hillow, who is also the chairman of the Health Services Committee, showed that despite challenges, health services in Mandera have improved.
“Despite many challenges, there is improvement in health infrastructure, health workforce and service delivery across the county,” reads the report.
The report showed that all the sub-county hospitals lacked adequate clean water, kitchens were in deplorable conditions and most health records were yet to be automated.
“Most health infrastructures initiated by the county government were in deplorable state due to poor workmanship before they are even commissioned,” states the report.
The committee reported that Banisa Sub-County Hospital had been abandoned by the executive and that it had no designated wards, meaning male and female patients shared the wards.
“The maternity at Banisa has no privacy in the ward, forcing mothers to give birth outside the hospital,” reads the report.
The committee itself could not visit Lafey Sub-County Hospital due to insecurity but met the hospital superintendent some 10 kilometres away from the hospital.
They superintendent informed them that the hospital only operated during the day and lacked an ambulance for emergency services.
The hospital lacked water supply in the laboratory, maternity wing and at the injection room.
Both Banisa and Lafey hospitals lacked theatre services despite Governor Roba announcing the construction of the operation facilities in 2015.
All the main hospitals in Mandera lacked blood banks and mortuaries, according to the report.
The multimillion accident and emergency facilities in Mandera and Elwak faced architectural challenges.
The committee recommended the construction of additional wards and additional bedding in the hospitals.
They called for the construction of isolation wards to handle outbreaks of cholera and other communicable diseases in the county.
The committee was impressed by the timely supply of drugs in the facilities in Mandera.
The department has a budget of Sh2.5 billion in the 2018/2019 financial year.
“Health services budget has been increasing since 2013 and there is significant improvement in the sector considering the budget allocations,” said Mr Hillow, the committee chairman.
The department boasts of a reduced maternal mortality rate of 588 per 100,000 live births from the initial 3,795 deaths per 100,000 live births before devolution.
The committee reported that a World Health Organisation report of 2015 indicated Mandera remained the worst place for a mother to give birth and for a child to be born and thrive in the world.
Responding to the allegations by the MCAs, County Health Services Executive Mohamud Eda, confirmed that Lafey has been lagging behind due to insecurity.
“Lafey as a sub county has areas that are completely cut off and cannot be accessed for development but we have plans for a sub-county hospital that will soon be implemented,” he said.
He said the county government has been upgrading sub-county hospitals based on the population of a particular area.
“We started by upgrading Mandera East, followed by Elwak then Takaba and Rhamu and we shall soon be working on Banisa Sub-County Hospital,” he said.
The CEC refuted claims of discriminating in provision of health services, insisting that there is a systematic way of improving the facilities and services.
He said Banisa lacks land for expansion, adding that the little space available will be utilised and even if it means buying land from the community, then the county government will do so.