Lodwar, 23rd February 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)— Governor Josphat Nanok and the UNICEF Representative to Kenya Mamiza Zaman have agreed on the need to strengthen partnership to ensure sustainability of programmes implemented in Turkana.

In a meeting at the County HQ, the two agreed that collaboration in education, water, health and sanitation had borne tangible results and needed to be strengthened for sustainability.

Governor Nanok said the County could use support to improve community health with capacity building of Community Health Volunteers who are critical in diagnosis and disease prevention. He said the CHVs had contributed to reduction in referrals of cases in health centres set up in rural areas and led to reduction in distance to health facilities to just 25 percent.

He said the county was working towards achieving the 5km distance recommended by the World Health Organization. In effort to end open defecation, the Governor proposed upscaling of the campaigns to target larger areas. He admitted that the Covid-19 pandemic had encouraged better personal hygiene among the public, contributing to improved health.

On water, the Governor said there was need for support in operationalization of the County Water Act, with the next phase of building structures for two rural and urban water companies to manage water provision in Turkana. He insisted that the biggest impediment to efforts to attain water sufficiency was the high levels of salinity of boreholes sunk by the County, with a solution requiring collaboration between the County Government and development partners.

On education, Governor Nanok admitted that despite the county’s considerable investment in ECDEs, there still existed over 250,000 children who are out of school. He said the problem was contributed in part by inadequate infrastructure in primary schools.

County Executive for Health and Sanitation Jane Ajele gave highlights of achievements made through the partnership. These include supply of nutrition commodities to 189 health facilities and vitamin A to 207 facilities, support to Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and collaboration in effort to attain open-defecation free status for villages in the county. Chief Officer for Water, Environment and Mineral Resources Moses Natome gave an update on the implementation of the KOICA-UNICEF water project in Turkana Central and Loima Sub-Counties. He revealed that 25 boreholes had been sunk out of the targeted 76, with 20 of them already equipped.

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro, who is acting CEC for Water Services, commended KOICA-UNICEF Water project for complementing county investment in water infrastructure and called for it to be extended to Turkana East and Turkana North sub-counties which he said were facing water shortages. CEC George Emojong, who is acting Executive in charge of the Education docket, outline areas of partnership with UNICEF, which include capacity building and support to draft legislation and policies. These include the Child Protection Strategy launched in 2019 and other proposed bills on ECDE and Social Protection.

Ms Zaman was accompanied by UN Delivery as One Coordinator Susan Aletia, Chief of Field Operations and Emergency Nicholas Wasunna and Chief of Lodwar Zonal Office Rotuno Kipsang. Other Senior County Government present were County Secretary Peter Eripete, County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral and Fisheries Philip Aemun, Chief of Staff Ekuwom Nakiporo, Advisor for Gender, Partnerships and Children Affairs Phoebe Kaaman and Directors Samwel Eregae (ECDE) and Stephen Eregae (Vocational Training).