AUDITIONS FOR TOBONG’ULORE CULTURAL TEAMS UNDERWAY AT THE WARDS

Thirty traditional dance teams from across Turkana County are currently auditioning to perform at this year’s Tobong’ulore Cultural Festival to be held on the 14th – 17th August, 2019.

For the next 10 days, Department of Culture – working closely with ward administrators – will be looking to prepare the teams to give their best performance during the festival. The auditioning teams have been selected one per ward to ensure an inclusive representation in all important festival.

“We are listening to the songs to ensure that they conform to the theme of the festival and check on their attire or costumes,” says Philip Lokaala, Deputy Director of Culture.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating cultural heritage for tourism, peace and regional development”.

The festival is about preservation of cultural heritage; people, nature and archaeology. It is also seeks to promote Turkana County as the preferred tourist destination and for investment opportunities.

In the coming days, the department will be looking to audition the other performances, individual and groups; both secular and faith-based ones.

COMMUNITY RANGERS VETTED TO ENHANCE NATURAL RESOURCES AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION

The County Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources has carried out a vetting exercise of the 65 community rangers to ascertain their suitability for service delivery, in Lokichar – Turkana South Sub-county.

This exercise was done through the Department of Natural Resources, in collaboration with the Turkana County Public Service Board (TCPSB) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

It comes after the Ministry gave the rangers with a two-month contract starting J!une, after the Tullow Oil funding through KWS! ended in April 2019, to allow this process.

The County Executive Committee (CEC) member of the ministry, Charles Lokioto, advised the rangers to report anybody soliciting bribes in the promise of a county job.

“This vetting is what we discussed during our meeting in June. So relax, this is a necessary process that allows the county government know its staff,” he said, after inspecting the guard of honour.

During the interview, Mildred Lochuch – one of the nine women rangers – cited that the paramilitary training they underwent in 2017 (organised by the County Government) at KWS Manyani as having prepared her for the challenges associated with the job.

The community rangers will be responsible for the conservation and protection of the county’s natural resources and wildlife.

They will also be expected to coordinate with the security forces in their areas of jurisdiction to report any incidents and threats.

Also present were Commissioner Peter Lolem – TCPSB, Chief Officer Pauline Lokuruka – Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, Deputy Director Pauline Ngoli Pusiye – Department of Natural Resources, Warden Josphat Erupe – KWS, Sub-county Administrator Alexander Losikiria – Turkana South, Sub-county Administrator Robinson Kotol – Turkana East Sub-county and Peter Silale – Human Resource Officer at the ministry.

SCHOOL RECEIVES 500 TREE SEEDLINGS TO CHANGE ITS ENVIRONMENT

The County Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources has given 500 tree seedlings to be planted by the students of St. Augustine Boys Primary School in Lodwar town. This is aimed at increasing the forest cover in the county, under the on-going program “Greening Turkana”.

The exercise, done through the Department of Natural Resources and in partnership with Kenya Forest Service (KFS), is targeting 20 schools alongside other institutions this rainy season. St. Augustine will be the fifth school to receive such a large number of seedlings.

Speaking at the school, Chief Officer Pauline Lokuruka praised the school’s efforts to change their environment by planting the trees.
“You [students] are the agents of change. We depend on you to green Turkana; adopt a tree and take care of it,” she said.

Speaking for student body, Brian Ikeny in Class 7 (the president) and Maxwell Ekeno in class 5 (the environment minister) pledged to take care of the seedlings to ensure high survival rate.

Deputy Director of Natural Resources, Pauline Ngoli Pusiye advised the students to plant trees even in their homes to protect and conserve the environment.
She also promised in the next financial year, the department would deliver 200 fruit trees to the school.
Also present was Johnson Komu – the Assistant Ecosystem Conservator of KFS Turkana County and Brother Elphas Sosi – the head teacher of St. Augustine.

HEALTH HOLDS 3RD JOINT QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE REVIEW MEETING IN LOKICHAR

Health services and sanitation is currently holding a joint three days performance review meeting with health program partners at Black Gold hotel in Lokichar, Turkana South. This is a routine appraisal meeting held once every four months to evaluate progress made and share challenges experienced by all stakeholders of health services in the county during the financial year 2018/2019 third quarter period covering January to April 2019.

The joint meeting which brings together department of health services and partners such as CMLAP, Afya timiza, save the children, world vision Kenya, Afya nyota ya bonde, IRC and EGPAF will track effectiveness of existing service delivery standards and quality of care offered to the population through review of supportive evidences to be presented by the participants supporting provision of health services.

The meeting which will run from 8th to 10th of May 2019 brings together all stakeholders in the provision of health services in the county and the entire senior management of the ministry accompanied by directors and heads of various units and sub/units.

This quarters’ performance review meeting will provide a framework for; information sharing among health sector stakeholders, comparing achievements against target, evaluating existing data processes and systems, discussing best practices and recommended standards as well as develop quality improvement plans for future implementations.

Proceedings will be conducted through presentations, verification of evidence submitted and positive critique from participating county, sub county and stakeholder teams.Other government officials present are Turkana south sub administrator Mr. Alexander Losikiria,and area ward administrator.Opening and Closing remarks will be given by Health CECM and CCO hon. Jane Ajele and Dr. Roberts Abok respectively.

LCRH TO PIONEER FIXED ORTHODONTIC SERVICES IN KENYA

Dental clinic at the LCRH will be the first to roll out fixed orthodontic services in a county referral hospital in Kenya. The service is expected to start in the next three months. The clinic has facilitated specialized training of its staff and acquisition of two complete sets of dental units fully fitted with dental compressor, inter-oral cameras, monitor, suction tubes, head lamb, (cuspido) spitting area and movable treatment table as one stop shop for all forms of oral health services.

The clinic has also been staffed with four (04) dentists, three (03) oral health officers and three (03) dental technologists under the leadership of the chief dentist Dr. Rotich to support the provision of other dental services like; root canal treatment, tooth cleaning, inter-maxillary fixation, minor surgery, stitching, dentures and identification of tumors in the mouth on a round the clock basis.
Other than the dental clinic at the LCRH which serves more than 300 clients every month, the county has also established dental sub-units in Katilu and Lopiding sub county hospitals in Turkana south and Turkana west respectively as outreach centers for basic tooth extraction services, patient education on oral health and dental hygiene as well as referral of complicated cases to the Lodwar for specialized intervention.

According to several residents and clients of the clinic, a remarkable improvement has been witnessed in the area since 2015. Initially, all dental cases had to be referred to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret. The establishment of the clinic has made it possible to offer routine and emergency dental services within the hospital as soon as they are required.

USHANGA INITIATIVE SENSITIZATION EXERCISE CARRIED OUT IN KERIO & NAKADUKUI – TURKANA CENTRAL

Helena Asinyen, a resident of Nakadukui – Turkana Central Sub-county, listened keenly to the presenter even when her hands were busy beading the wide yellow plastic that when finished would be an Aruba (a woman’s beaded belt).

The mother of five had joined the rest of the Kicheda Group of 35 beaders in a baraza for Ushanga Initiative, a program under the Department of Culture in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources. The initiative, done in collaboration with the National Government, seeks to empower women to take up beadwork as a business venture in order to enrich their lives.

“In the village, I am best known for my Aruba and Ng’ikingeta [beaded headband] so I get orders. I can make three in a month,” says Helena, who took up beadwork in four years ago.

Ushanga Initiative is looking to support women like Helena, a pastoral woman, to earn a living from their beadwork and not to wear them as just an adornment.  The other counties targeted are West Pokot, Baringo, Marsabit, Samburu, Narok and Kajiado as they too traditionally deal with beads.

During this sensitization exercise in Turkana Central Sub-county, the Department of Culture was able to reach over 100 women in both Kerio and Nakadukui; in the last centre there were some men beaders too. At the baraza, they too were busy beading bracelets and ornaments to decorate the Ng’ateloi (men’s headgear), and carving Aburo (walking stick that would later be beaded).

“Awareness and skills acquired in Ushanga Initiative makes one to become a small scale entrepreneur thus able to earn a living,” said Titus Lokorikeje, Deputy Director Policy, Quality and Research in the Culture Department, at Kerio, “However the willingness of the community and participants to embrace the initiative is more paramount.”

Citing one of their own in Kerio – Joyce Apus who had traveled around Kenya and East Africa showcasing and selling her beaded products and with the support of the county government has been continuously been trained has improved her skills, innovation and value addition. However, Lemmy Ejorewoia – Chief Administrator in the Culture Department – told the women that beadwork called for commitment and patience.

“You [the Nakadukui community] are already doing well, all you need is to advance skills and knowledge,” he said. “The best products will be taken to Biashara Centre where the market is ready.”

He assured them that the county government would soon be training them to use machines; that will enhance their designs, produce better finished products and work faster and efficiently.

He urged them to have their final products to be neat, have reasonable selling points and use local natural materials like leather instead of plastic.

In March 2019, the department trained 20 women for 10 days as trainers of trainers (ToTs) who they will rely on to pass on their learnt beading skills to the rest of the women in county. Then in April 2019, over 100 women were sensitized in Loaren’gak and Kaikor, Turkana North Sub-county.

Upon delivery of her latest belt, Helena will be paid Sh2,000 for the order.

MINISTER JANE AJELE LEADS TURKANA IN COMMEMORATING WORLD MALARIA DAY

The Turkana County Minister for health and sanitation Hon. Jane Ajele joined residents of Nakwamekwi community unit to commemorate world malaria day which is an annual global event observed every 25th April to share efforts of the county government in the fight against malaria. The theme for this year was ‘zero malaria begins with me’ and a national rallying call ‘Natumia mbinu zote kumaliza malaria.’

She said that the ministry has increased the number and distribution of malaria sentinel sites from 22 to 35 to ensure malaria upsurge is detected early enough and responded to in good time in the entire county. The sentinel sites also monitor and reports on a weekly basis as part of malaria epidemic preparedness hence a significant reduction of malaria specific illness and deaths.

The Minister also said that the cases of malaria had reduced from 240,000 to 170,000 over the last two year. She attributed the reduction to; good stewardship of Governor Nanok towards strengthening health financing and supporting policy and technical leadership in Malaria control, enhanced availability of malaria commodities in all health facilities in the county, training of more than 1000 CHVs to detect and treat uncomplicated malaria and the continuous updating of health care workers on emerging approaches of malaria case management.

She noted that though the impact of malaria is hugely manifested through eroded household income and loss of opportunities arising from absenteeism due to the disease, the county will achieve malaria free status in the near future since all the necessary tools, manpower, resources, political goodwill and global support exists.

The event was attended by a host of staff of the national and county government including deputy director for public health Mr sifuna, sub county MoH for central Mr. Lochor, county coordinator for Malaria Mr. Lokemer, sub chief of Nakwamekwi sub location, ward administrator for township ward, principal and staff of the Kenya Medical Training College Lodwar campus and representatives of health program partners among others.

Lodwar County Referral Hospital laboratory recommended for ISO certification

Lodwar County Referral Hospital laboratory is at an advanced stage of receiving ISO 15189:2012 accreditation. It will be the first and only facility in the Northern Arid Lands (NALs) region to acquired the standard. The accreditation recommendation was issued yesterday by Kenya Acreditation Service(KENAS ) after several assessments that touched on the tests carried out, quality and procedures in place to ensure reliable quality laboratory results are available in the premier County health facility.

The accreditation recommendation is a confirmation that the laboratory can effectively support enhanced service delivery of medical interventions by giving accurate, reliable, and timely laboratory results for correct diagnosis and better patient outcomes.

Mr. Maragia James Marcomics-the officer in charge of laboratory services, said that the preparation for accreditation started last year with the installation of computer assisted systems that could track delivery of services in real times and enhance timely response to the clients.

The laboratory is well equipped with gene expert machines, biosafety cabinets, microscopes fridges and incubators centrifuge, autoclave for sterilization of culture plates, chemistry machine, blood transfusion machines and coagulation machine for offering the widest range of laboratory services available.
The laboratory e-system is supported by a server to allow for paperless interaction between the service providers and the clients. The facility serves more than 300 people on a daily basis. started last year with the installation of computer assisted systems that could track delivery of services in real times and enhance timely response to the clients.

The laboratory is well equipped with gene expert machines, biosafety cabinets, microscopes fridges and incubators centrifuge, autoclave for sterilization of culture plates, chemistry machine, blood transfusion machines and coagulation machine for offering the widest range of laboratory services available.
The laboratory e-system is supported by a server to allow for paperless interaction between the service providers and the clients. The capacity of the facility has increased considerably since it can now serves more than 300 people on a daily basis as compared to only 150 cases before the recommended accreditation.

CECM Aletia flags off last mile of anti-locusts spray in Lokichar; terms exercise successful

County executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries ,Chris Aletia  today flagged off the last mile of Locusts spraying in Lokichar ,Turkana south sub county and termed the long month exercise as an achievement by the County government towards pest control.

Speaking in Lokichar Airstrip during the flagging off event, CECM Aletia said that the county had taken the initiative to save vegetation from being damaged by Locust as part of Drought mitigation Additionally, CEC Aletia said that the tree locusts had   depleted animal feed and pasture with treetop grazers being the most affected.

The countywide pest control exercise started last month and targets to cover a total of 837.35Km square. The exercise is jointly being done by the National and county government. The county government bought the chemical and Aircraft fuel while the National government provided the Aircraft.

CEC Aletia noted that a research by ministry officials identified the Locust Species, “Anarcridium melanorhodon” as the major one attacking vegetative part of acacia and shrubs. The pest is also reported to have attacked prosopis juliflora along the Laggas and Streams affecting both rangeland and farm sites.

The insecticide purchased by the County government for Locust control is Utra Low Volume (ULV) sumithion Insecticide, which has undergone checks and registration by Pest Control Products Board (PCPB). It is certified by the World health Organization and classified as yellow (safe Human and Environmental friendly). The Total ULV purchased is 3,000 litres and were proportionately allocated per Sub-County based on the amount of vegetation (target areas) cover infestation.

CEC Aletia also inspected the ongoing construction of Veterinary Lab and cold chain store in Lokichar. If completed, the facility will help in storage of vaccines, that will shorten and Ease response to diseases and service delivery not only to Turkana south but also to Turkana East sub county.

Spraying of Locusts for the remaining   Turkana East sub county will start on Wednesday.

Also accompanying the County executive were Turkana South Deputy county commissioner Philip Sigei, Agriculture Deputy Director Paul Lokone, several county officers and a host of professionals from Turkana South.

USHANGA INITIATIVE SENSITISATION EXERCISE CARRIED OUT IN TURKANA NORTH SUB-COUNTY

As a resident of Kaikor in Turkana North Sub-County, Rebecca Erupe options for formal employment or engaging in viable economic activities are limited. Therefore, in a recent sensitisation meeting about Ushanga Initiative, she appreciated the county’s drive to encourage women to take up beadwork as an economic activity.

The Ushanga Initiative, a program under the Department of Culture in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, is targeting such women like Rebecca to improve their lives through beadwork. Under the initiative, the department will offer training and assistance in accessing local and international markets.

The department having already trained over 20 trainer of trainers (ToTs) from Turkana South, East and Central Sub-Counties, the next was the vast Turkana North/ Kibish Sub-County and on a later date – Loima Sub-County. This recent exercise sensitised over 100 women in Loareng’ak and Kaikor centres with plans to reach out to more centres.

“We [the county] would like to encourage you to make different types of beaded products to sell as it will improve your standard of living and promote the Turkana culture,” said Lemmy Ejorewoia – the Chief Administrator in the Department of Culture, during the meeting with the Kaikor women.

He also assured the women that the department would be training them soon with machines such as looms and bead spinners that he showed the women during the two meetings.

By learning how to use the machines and business skills, the women would be able to make different beaded items, create new designs, work easier and faster, and advance the finishing of the products in order to be competitive in the market.

On his part the Turkana North Sub-County Administrator James Ekwakai encouraged the women to continue making bead product because it is a source of income.

The Ushanga Initiative, done in collaboration with the National Government, is meant to empower the pastoral women by changing the perception or understanding on the use of beads as not just an adornment but an economic asset to improve their lives. Turkana is one of the seven counties targeted traditionally dealing in beads; others being West Pokot, Baringo, Marsabit, Samburu, Narok and Kajiado.