Governors must step up corona war efforts

Friday, July 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Wycliffe Oparanya, LREB chair and Kakamega governor. Photo/File

After the partial reopening of the country on Monday, focus now turns to the counties on their level of preparedness to handle the rapidly increasing cases of Covid-19 infections.

Whereas plaudits are in order for the national government for the efforts its leadership has made in mobilising the citizenry in the war against the coronavirus pandemic, the same cannot be said about the devolved units, a good number of which have not been focused in getting their health facilities ready to deal with the threatening crisis.

On Wednesday, the Council of Governors (CoG) released a report in which it claimed that 25 of the 47 counties had complied with a presidential directive to attain a 300-bed capacity in county hospitals by July 22.

The chairman of the caucus, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, praised the President’s move to partially re-open the economy but cautioned that Kenyans should remain vigilant by strictly adhering to ministry of Health protocols, arguing that continued rise in numbers of infected persons was a pointer to an accelerated spread.

Good counsel indeed from the governor. However, it has to be stated that not many Kenyans believe the number of counties Oparanya mentioned that are prepared for a spike in patient numbers.

There is a temptation to believe that the unverified figures are merely a public relations exercise that grossly exaggerates the situation.

Since March, most governors have been offering lip service in the fight against the pandemic, making them the weakest link in the Covid-19 fight. 

This despite the fact that substantial amounts of funds have been allocated to the counties to combat the pandemic.

Worse still some governors have been cited in misappropriation of money meant to fight the disease.

It would be very unfortunate and disappointing for some counties to be caught out in case of a spike in infections in their regions.

Genuine desire for preparedness, devoid of public relations stunts and politics, is the only way out for the county chiefs.

This vexing issue  has taken a more urgent turn following repeated warning from Health minister Mutahi Kagwe that the national government will not allow ferrying of patients from the counties to Nairobi for treatment.

That leaves the governors squarely in charge of the lives of the people who elected them.

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