Why are NFD Counties Paying 0.58 Billion a Month for a Phoney Contract?
The 5 NFD counties are among the most marginalized counties in the North paying the national government Ksh 558,510,640 a month for a contract neither the Governors nor the Senators claim not to know anything about. More than shillings half a billion a month is a huge amount of money that could transform the health sector in these counties; help recruit essential and specialist health professionals and cater for terminally ill patients who often travel to far flung expensive cities like Nairobi and Mumbai for treatment. This money could instead provide them the convenience of getting the same treatments they are travelling for while staying with loved ones close to home.
The counties of Wajir and Garissa have for example, launched dialysis and oncology projects and announced that they will spend hundreds of millions of shillings on building oncology units and buying equipment. However, the Managed Equipment Services (MES) scheme which they are already paying for was supposedly expected to provide for these services. Isiolo is grappling with a Public Private Partnership scheme to address the challenges in its health sector but spending a whooping 2.79% of its budgetary allocation paying the national government for this controversial MES. Are the governors of these counties taking us for a ride by launching the same projects twice or they know not where the these monies to service the promised “specialized, modern, and state-of-the-art medical equipment” through the managed equipment services scheme is going?
The MES was a scheme forced down the throats of the Governors in 2015 and no county chief or employee knows the faces behind the contract nor seen the agreement according to many governors who spoke to the media. Unfortunately, the counties were not consulted nor their needs analyzed prior to procuring the equipment. Instead, a one-size-fits-all approach was used in designing and implementing the scheme. But even though the counties were not asked for opinions, the county governments were still expected to fund the scheme – to the tune of approximately 100 million per county, per year (since increased). And the funding was expected to begin in the 2015/2016 financial year – before there was even any sign that the counties had the capacity to support the program!