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Senate begins probe into petition challenging Isiolo community health services

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 19 – The Senate Committee on Health wants three foreign directors of a non-profit organisation to appear before it to shed light into an agreement it has with the County Government of Isiolo for the provision of community health services.

This is after it emerged the list of signatories to the bank account were not the same as those provided by the Registrar of Companies prompting Senators led by Michael Mbito (Trans-Nzoia), Fred Outa (Kisumu) and Ali Abdullahi (Wajir) to suspect that the non-profit organization which bears a similar name with a US-based Christian organization may be used to siphon public funds.

Isiolo County residents petitioned the Senate protesting that proper procurement procedures were not followed in awarding the project valued at Sh443 million.

Private entities are not envisioned by the Constitution as responsibility holders in relation to the delivery of public healthcare services. Therefore, as the entity constitutionally responsible for healthcare services, the County Government has no authority to relinquish this responsibility or part, thereof, to a private entity.

Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo told the Committee that project was negotiated without the requisite public participation as well as the necessary clearance from Ministry of Health.

“The agreement confers extensive powers to Living Goods Limited over healthcare services provision without much practical control and participation of the County Government, except for the provision of funds. As conceived, the Agreement envisions the County Government’s control over the project to only extend to ‘overseeing implementation and receiving and analyzing reports.”

“Consequently, the County Executive will not be in a position to know exactly what actions Living Goods Limited is taking in furtherance of the agreement, neither will the County Executive be able to influence the course of events in the implementation of the agreement, thereby opening up Isiolo’s healthcare system and the health of its people to unethical intrusions by entities that owe them no constitutional duty of accountability,” she said.

The Committee has invited the Isiolo County Assembly, CECs in charge of Finance and Health as well as the Public Private Partnership Unit which legally mandated to approve projects done under the Private Public Sector Partnership framework.

The County Assembly and Executive criticized the petition saying that the agreement is expected to train, equip and provide incentives and strengthen the work of community health volunteers by use of technology to improve health in community level within Isiolo, Merti and Garbatulla sub-counties.

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In the press statement, the county government further clarified that engagement is a co-funding arrangement but not a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

“Isiolo would have reduced the cost of running the three sub-counties hospitals and further reduced child mortality rate, disability cases due to lack of immunization and Improve health care services in our health facilities,” said the County leaders.

The petitioners want the Senate to ensure that all public funds utilised during the negotiation of the Agreement are reimbursed to the county government and that those who are responsible be held accountable.

The eight petitioners are also opposed to the county delegating its power of developing the Community Health Bill, including the conducting the requisite public participation process to a private entity, a function they argue should be jointly constitutionally carried out by the County Executive and the County Assembly.

The project entails situational analysis of existing healthcare infrastructure; training community health extension workers on key health interventions; supporting the County Government with forecasting for procurement of essential medicines and supplies and provide support with restocking essential medicines and supplies.


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