Bungoma county health CEC Dr.Antony Walela has come out guns blazing and attacked a human rights activist Zack Barasa for allegedly portraying the county government negatively.
Walela at the same time defended the county government health department saying that congestion in public a normal occurrence.
“The story that was aired on Citizen TV with Zacharia Barasa in tow may appear news to those who do not use public hospitals in Kenya, It is not news to those who visit the former District hospitals, KNH and MTRH,” wrote Dr.Walela.
He said that the health care system in Kenya has been under years of neglect, has leaders failed to plan.
Walela observed that the need for health care services has exponentially shot up with increase in population and reduced use of miti shamba and waganga.
“Bungoma County Referral Hospital (BCRH) started operations in 1952 and to date has 232 beds, an average growth of three beds a year. In 2013, the hospital had 216 beds,” he stated.
He noted that the growth by 16 beds in the last seven years is an even slower growth. “When we took over in the late 2017, there was no budgetary allocation to the expansion of the hospital in the 2017/2018 budget,”.
He observed, in government, it is criminal to spend on an item (however dear it is to the people) unless it appears in the budget.
“The only exception is the emergency fund that is not more than 2% of the total budget, we had to wait until the 2018/2019 budget before we could put funds into BCRH infrastructure,” he said.
He added, “Thereafter, we had to start the procurement process, which took the better part of 2018 till March 2019 when the contract was awarded, remember in government you can mean well to the people but the government bureaucratic process is all EACC and DPP look for,”.
Dr.Walela continued, “You cannot wake up and do what is good for the people but what is right to the government process if you want to avoid jail, I pray that one day these government laws are changed for government projects to move faster,”.
The CEC stated that the 300-bed wing at BCRH is now under construction, we should have 532 beds by January 2022.
“If one has to avoid a congested hospital in Kenya, you have to either visit a private hospital or in counties that got it right at the advent of devolution,” Walela seemed to mock Barasa the activist.
He stated that Makueni opened a 120-bed hospital last year that they began constructing in 2015.
“In the meantime, we are working on improvement of the lower level facilities and anyone visiting Bumula, Sirisia, Bokoli, Chwele, Mechimeru, Naitiri, Cheptais, Kapsokwony and Kimilili hospitals can attest to it,” said Walela. Barasa the patron of Bungoma Liberation Movement that advocates for good governance is on record for exposing corruption and other vices by the county government.
On Citizen TV news aired on April 28, Barasa was seen condemning Bungoma county government for neglecting Bungoma county referral hospital.
He said patients were sharing beds exposing them to the danger of contracting COVID-19 pandemic.
“The county government has embarked on making face masks but patients at the Referral hospital have none hence exposing them to the danger of contracting coronavirus because of congestion.
However, the facility’s medical superintendent Dr.David Wanikina disputed Barasa’s claims and added that they do thorough screening of all patients and their handlers before admission hence the threat of contracting coronavirus is zero