Five ventilators from the ministry of Health to Taita-Taveta county at Governor Granton Samboja’s request to the national government to fight Covid-19 is being turned into politics. During a recent burial in Taveta, the area MP Naomi Shaban allied to William Ruto said the ventilators should be installed in health facilities in Taveta sub-county because all Covid19 positive cases in the county are quarantined in Taveta. According to the MP, Taveta is the most vulnerable because of the location. Rekeke Health Centre in Taveta is the main isolation centre. There have been grumbles from a section of residents in Taveta sub-county who felt the region was not getting government support to deal with coronavirus cases. According to sources at county government, the ventilator supply delivered after Governor Samboja wrote to the cabinet secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, requesting for additional support for equipment and material to fight Covid-19.
The county executive committee member for health John Mwakima after briefing Samboja wrote on May 16, asking the Ministry of Health for support to help efforts being done. Amongst other items requested include Personal Protective Equipment, ventilators and specialized ICU equipment. The county was allocated five ventilators after the request. Weekly Citizen has established that in his letter, the governor had requested for all isolation centres in his county be equipped. To his surprise, the Ministry of Health asked the county to identify one Covid19 treatment centre where the ventilators would be installed. On June 2, the principal secretary for Health wrote to the county acknowledging that Mwatate sub-county was an appropriate site and the county embarked on redesigning the facility to accommodate the ventilators.
“Health experts identified Mwatate due to a number of reasons. It is centrally located and also there is a possibility of minimal displacements of patients as the machines are being installed,” he explained. However, the matter has been turned into politics with Shaban claiming malice and favouritism in the move to have Mwatate as the treatment centre. Recently, the government donated 15 tonnes of sanitizers to Taveta sub-county to boost efforts to fight the covid-19 pandemic. County commissioner Rhoda Onyancha said the sanitizers would be given to frontline workers and other high-risk persons who were combating the virus.