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Roba urges State to release Covid-19 funds allocated to counties


Wednesday June 24, 2020
By MANASE OTSIALO


Mandera Governor Ali Roba speaks outside his office on June 23, 2020. He called on the national government to release money allocated to counties to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mandera Governor Ali Roba wants the national government to release money allocated to counties to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing a press conference in Mandera town on Tuesday, Mr Roba regretted that the Ministry of Health and the National Treasury are yet to disburse Sh1.5 billion allocated to the Coast General Hospital, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kitui Referral Hospital and Mandera to fight Covid-19.

The money was allocated through a supplementary budget.

Mr Roba added that his administration is also yet to receive part of Sh850 million given to Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa and Mandera counties to cushion locals from the effects of Covid-19 through livelihoods support programmes.

COVID-19 PEAK

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The governor said the funds are needed to assist counties prepare for the pick season of the disease predicted by the Ministry of Health to be August and September.

He said the pandemic is a burden to counties which were first to report first index cases of the virus.

But the governor was happy that measures put in place to fight the disease by his administration are bearing fruit as 17 patients out of 18 who had tested positive have been discharged after turning negative.

The remaining one patient had also tested negative but is awaiting a second validation test before being discharged.

SCREENING

In total, 729 people had been tested for the disease, 97,502 screened at various entry and exit points in the county and 334 quarantined.

Some 176 people who were quarantined were contacts of the positive cases while 158 were travellers from outside the county.

Mr Roba attributed the county's success in fighting the pandemic to preparedness, mobilisation of resources, planning and rapid interventions.

Saying it is not yet time to celebrate because no new Covid-19 case has been reported in Mandera, Mr Roba said "we must maintain measures to curb the disease and not relax".

Locals, he said, should wash hands regularly, wear masks in public places and maintain social distancing as there are still risks of the disease finding its way to the county through travellers and the porous borders with Somalia and Ethiopia.

DON’T FEAR TEST

He also urged locals not to fear being tested of Covid-19 adding that patients should not be stigmatised.

"It is not yet time to celebrate.  Covid-19 is here with us," Mr Roba said.

The county boss took issue with the long periods taken to receive results of samples saying that for instance, the results of tests taken to Nairobi on June 19 were yet to be received five days later.

The county, which lies some 1,200 kilometres from Nairobi, relies on flying of the samples to the city for testing, which is costly, as they cannot be transported by road to neighbouring Wajir County due to threats of Al-Shabaab attacks.

TESTING CENTRE

Mr Roba vouched for the establishment of a testing centre in Mandera County which borders Somalia and Ethiopia, countries which have also been hit by the disease with deaths reported in Bullahawa.

In the past, cases of disease outbreaks in Somalia and Ethiopia have also spilled over to Mandera town which lies on a triangle international border.

Mr Roba said Mandera is progressing well in its efforts to have 300 hospital beds for Covid-19 patients, saying the border county already has 190 beds and will soon procure the remaining 110.

Two facilities – the Kamor Infectious Disease Centre and Mandera Rehabilitation Centre have been set aside to handle Covid-19 cases.



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