Plans have been finalized to launch the Bungoma County Health Strategic and Investment Plan with the upgrade of 11 hospitals and 125 primary health facilities among its top priorities.
“We have already decentralized procurement are fast tracking the operation of 10 hospitals as independent procurement units to ensure there is no shortage of basic emergency items like blood, essential drugs and food as a result of bureaucratic delays witnessed before in centralized systems,” commented Governor Lusaka.
Health ministry Chief Officer, Bernard Mureka named the 10 units as Kapsokwony, Cheptais, Sirisia, Chwele,Bokoli, Bumula, Naitiri, Webuye and Bungoma County Referral Hospital. Each of this is expected to have a functional hospital management board that makes quick decisions to ensure smooth operations at the facility.
Governor Kenneth Lusaka ordered the decentralization of procurement last December 4 when he appointed Stephen Kokonya as Minister and Mureka as Chief officer.
Kokonya expressed his commitment to revamp the sector, promising to work with its stakeholders to ensure quality service. He also noted the few challenges faced by the sector key one being under-funding. “Only sh200 million was available for operations. This money is grossly inadequate because we have a salary bill of sh1.2 billion annually that rises to sh1.5 billion if we take into account the cost of promotions. We generate only sh200 million from cost sharing funds and resources from development partners are not guaranteed”, he explained.
The ministry is in the process of assessing 46 newly built dispensaries to establish if they meet set standards to function as dispensaries in various parts of the county with 13 having been given the nod.
County Health Director, Dr Wekesa Kubasu said “although health is the largest devolved ministry with a staff strength of 1,494 in Bungoma county, it is characterized by serious staff shortage particularly medical doctors, consultants and nurses.” Dr Kubasu opined that the ministry needed to recruit additional staff of nurses, radiographers, laboratory technicians, clinical officers and paramedics to cope with growing demand for health care services.
He adds that healthcare financing was a major hindrance to access to quality medical care and called for urgent strengthening of funding mechanisms through strong partnerships and collaborations, alternative healthcare financing and health insurance schemes. “The gap in financing healthcare in Bungoma county now stood at sh21,252,530,000 against the total planned budget of sh56,463,291,000,” said Kubasu.
Kokonya said his ministry was also putting in place measures to reduce burden of violence, injuries and accidents by providing health promotion and education, pre-hospitals care and managements of injuries. It targets physical infrastructure, recruitment of skilled staffs in order to provide essential health care which is affordable/equitable, accessible and responsive to clients’ needs, minimize exposure to health risks: promoting interventions that reduce risks and strengthen collaboration with health related sectors.

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Bungoma County