Residents from Kakamega and Western region at large will soon cut on costs they have been incurring when traveling outside the region to seek for specialized treatment.
This follows the launch for a teaching and referral hospital in Kakamega town just adjacent to the Kakamega county general hospital.
The hospital, Kakamega Teaching and Referral Hospital is expected to be completed in the next three to five years depending on the funding the county government will get from investors, well wishers and the national government.
Speaking during the grounds breaking ceremony, Kakamega county governor Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya revealed that the construction will cost them a tune of Ksh. 6 billion.
He added that to equip the hospital, the county will need an extra Ksh. 2 billion.
The teaching and referral hospital is expected to impart knowledge to students from the county who would wish to specialize in medicine.
“We are running a joint program with Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology where we target to train more specialists in medicine and we are hoping that the first face in this project will commence in September, this year(2016),” Said the governor.
He further added that the hospital will be an extension of the general hospital that will not stop working but will be tasked with providing general services as the referral deals with special cases.
The governor further revealed that his government has set aside Ksh. 230 millions for renovations of the general hospital, besides working to ensure that each of the 12 sub counties get a level for hospital in an effort to improve health care.
Oparanya said that the challenge they face as governors is funding from the national government that leads to poor services especially healthcare at the county levels.
Giving an example of the free maternity services initiated by the national government, Oparanya revealed that since it kicked off, the national government owes Kakamega county 138 million shillings.
He said that it paralyses services at the hospital given that the said amount is worth running the hospital for a whole year.
He said that the allocated Ksh. 350 billions for county governments by the national government in the just read budget was not enough given that the entire budget was Ksh. 2.3 trillions.
He wondered how 47 governments could be allocated 13% of the budget while the rest is retained by a single government that is not conscious of development at the village level.
His sentiments were lauded by the Bomet governor Isaac Rutto who attended the ceremony.
Rutto said that it is time for mwananchi to feel the sweetness of devolution which can only be achieved by devolving enough funds to the county governments.
Calling upon members of parliament to be more vigilant and ensure that devolution works, Rutto said that as leaders their first interest should be the common man in the village.
He further lauded CORD in their fight to send IEBC officials packing explaining that they can no longer be trusted.
Rutto called for a peaceful campaign and elections come next arguing that it will be achieved if the right people will be in the IEBC offices.
CEC member for Health Services Penina Mukabane, explained that the hospital will enhance patient management and research in health.
She added that the KT&RH will provide high medical care to complex diseases especially cancer, diabetes which is on the rise as well as leading to development in new technologies and enhance diagnostic treatment.
Also present were the Busia governor Sospeter Ojamoo’ng, the Kisumu governor Jack Ranguma and the Vihiga deputy governor Caleb Amaswache among other dignitaries.
Other leaders who addressed the gathering included Kakamega County Deputy Governor H.E Prof. Philip Kutima, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology Vice Chancellor Prof. Fredrick Otieno, Health Services Chief Officer Dr. Brenda Makokha among others.