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World Bank gives Kenya Sh4.6 billion more for fight against Covid-19

Friday July 03 2020
Hospital

A health worker at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital in West Pokot County checks visitors' temperature at the entrance to the hospital as part of efforts to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, June 18, 2020. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMWEL OWINO

The World Bank has released a second tranche of Sh4.6 billion for counties to use in strengthening devolution as they race against time to secure 300 beds for Covid-19 patients.

The financier earlier gave Sh1.46 billion under the Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP), which the 47 counties shared equally.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa urged them to use the money prudently and only for improving their response.

“We believe the release of the funds, after the release of Sh5 billion by the national government through the Ministry of Health, is timely and a shot in the arm for our counties as it will go a long way in enhancing their capacity to meet urgency now and in the post Covid-19 recovery period,” Mr Wamalwa said on Friday.

The CS praised counties, saying that so far, they have used funds well in improving health facilities across the country.

Mr Wamalwa, who addressed journalists flanked by Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Kiambu Governor James Nyoro, said the pandemic has tested the strength of devolution and helped improve their state of preparedness.

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Mr Oparanya urged the National Treasury to release the Sh30 billion counties were to receive in June.

“I request that the money be released before Ifmis is closed because counties have made commitments. Without payments, we shall have many pending bills by the end of this year,” Mr Oparanya.

The governor also urged consideration of the allocation of more funds for the fight against the virus in border counties such as Busia and Kwale as the cases there have been increasing.

In his eighth address on the pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed counties to set up isolation centres with at least 300 beds in readiness for a surge in the number of patients.

He noted that counties were ill-prepared, citing Siaya which has a 10- bed isolation facility, nine of which were occupied at the time. In Busia, all the 34 beds at the county’s isolation facility were full by June 25.

A report by the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Covid-19, that was tabled before the House in June, indicated that most counties either lack enough personal protective equipment (PPE) or have poorly equipped treatment facilities.

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