Move to close 49 dispensaries in West Pokot faulted

Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto
Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto

Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto and residents of West Pokot County are up in arms over the shutdown of  dispensaries and private clinics which have not met the standard in the County set by the Ministry of Health.

A total 49 dispensaries in the County were earmarked for closure due to poor service delivery after a joint inspection by the Ministry of health and regulatory bodies under the coordination of Kenya health professionals oversight authority for purposes of categorization, classification of facilities from February 2019 based on the services offered, the health infrastructure, and the health personnel.

Among the shutdown facilities in the County are Annet, Adorokoit, Apollo, Cheptebo, Kreso, Kanyerus, Poole, Kong’elai, Talau, Pserum, Hope medical, Cheptuya, Chesra, Kapkaremba ,Nakwijit, Orolwo and Ptoyo dispensaries.

The facilities did not meet the minimum standards and were closed until the time they will comply with the standards and apply to the relevant regulatory bodies for re-inspection.

However, residents in the County are now in limbo as pregnant mothers, elderly and disabled residents pay the price because of covering long distances to health facilities.

This comes in the wake of alleged deteriorating health services and negligence of the medical staff in County hospitals.

Many health centers in the County are struggling with poor infrastructure and shortage of staff. Interestingly, the critical health department has been allocated a lion share of the county’s Kshs 5.6  billion per year.

Speaking at Tipet area, Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto said the closure of the facilities has led to many deaths in the County adding that most of the patients transferred to Kapenguria County hospital die along the treacherous way. “We have lost many people who are referred to the County hospital in Kapenguria, 300 kilometers away….Residents  walk more than twenty kilometers on foot to reach the nearest health center,” he said.

Moroto called on all stakeholders to join hands and ensure that the facilities are reopened to save lives. He also appealed to the national government to increase allocation of money to Counties especially the ministry of health to improve health in remote places. “We need to have many health centers in the area and houses for doctors. We need many health centers in the area to help residents’ access health services near their homes,” he said.

The residents in the areas which border Uganda said that they are forced to seek medical services in the neighboring country due to lack of health facilities in Kenya.

They said that they are forced to walk long distances for them to access medical services, and also complained of poor infrastructure in the area citing that they rely on mobile clinics to get medical services.

Kapenguria County hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. Joram Muhola said the decision to shut down the facities was taken by the national government.