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Peace along Turkana-Baringo boarder takes a toll on hospitals

Thursday October 13 2016
Peacephoto

A nurse attends to a patient at the waiting bay of Silale Dispensary in Turkana East. Due to peace in the area, the number of people seeking medical attention has increased. PHOTO | SAMMY LUTTA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMMY LUTTA

The number of people visiting health facilities along the Turkana-Baringo county boarder has spiked significantly, straining local healthcare systems.

The increase in the number of people seeking medical attention has been attributed to the current peace in the bandit-prone area.

Not so long ago, walking to a health centre would be akin to a walk of death due to deadly cattle raids and banditry that were rampant in villages such as Lomelo, Kapedo, Akoret, Silale Napeitom and Kamuge.

Because of insecurity in the area, villagers live in enclosed quarters guarded by police reservists day and night. A spot check by the Nation found that although villagers are still living in secured places, they were accessing water points and healthcare facilities without fearing for their lives.

“Peace building efforts along the border have seen the establishment of new Kraals owned by Pokot herders, who have migrated to Turkana in search of water and pasture for their livestock.

"This has led to an increase in the number of patients we attend to daily,” said Alfred Lokori, a nurse at Silale Dispensary.

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The dispensary is, however, faced by a shortage of crucial items such as drugs, beds and clean water.

“We are suspending drip fluid containers on metal bars at patients waiting bay with the surface being made for sitting on translated as beds when urgent need arises,” Mr Lokori said.

The Nation learnt that the four nurses manning the dispensary are forced to walk about two kilometres to fetch water, which is salty.

Turkana county executive in charge of Public Health and Sanitation Jane Ajel says that one of the dispensaries constructed by the county government, Lomelo Dispensary, is currently operational and plans are underway to fully equip it. She said plans are also in place to refurbish Silale Dispensary.

Turkana East Sub County Peace Building Officer Martin Esto said improving services along the border will boost peaceful existence in the area.

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