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SH60 MILLION BOOST FOR ACUTE MALNUTRITION ALLEVIATION IN TURKANA

County Department of Health and Sanitation, in partnership with USAid Nawiri Project, have launched Community Health System Action Research, worth Ksh60 million, focused on sustainably reducing the prevalence of persistent acute malnutrition across Turkana County.

This comes after two years of exhaustive research to identify the gaps that hinder sustainable reduction of acute malnutrition cases. The study focused on the community health system, particularly Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), which provides a direct link between community members and health facilities services for early detection and management and treatment.

Speaking at the launch of the implementation strategy, County Executive of Health Services and Sanitation Jane Ajele said that the research revealed six barriers that were identified.

Ajele emphasized that one of key challenges that faced the CHVs was lack of tools such as mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) tapes, medicines and bicycles/ motorcycles for mobility.

She said that Turkana County is going to partner with Nawiri in using the research findings and other information on the CHS to design and test appropriate strategies to improve CHV motivation for effective implementation of integrated community case management/community-based management of acute malnutrition (ICCM /CMAM) and family-led MUAC.

This financial year, the county government has allocated Ksh29million to the project.

“The county government now has 1,700 health workers and before health was devolved, it only had 542 from National government. They are now more than 2393 CHVs serving across the county. This increase in number of workers has improved the implementation of health services in the county.

She further added that the county government was keen on implementing the Community Health Services Act, that would streamline the management and engagement of the CHVs. She invited the partners to identify gaps and support the health department in those area that require assistance.

County Executive of Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries, Philip Ebei Aemun, lauded the county government and partner team for taking the multisectoral approach to seek a sustainable and long-term solution to address the nutrition and food security challenges in the county.

On her part, Soledad Rodgers, who is the team lead of Usaid Nawiri  said the project intends to strengthen the Community Health System (CHS) as the structural and functional space where community health is operationalized, to help protect nutrition gains.

She added that USAID Nawiri is committed to putting county governments and its citizens in the driver’s seat of their own journeys to self-reliance.

GOVERNORS NANOK AND LOUIS LOBONG AGREE TO SUPPORT NADAPAL ROAD CONSTRUCTION

Lodwar, 2nd October 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– Turkana County Government and the Eastern Equatoria State have signed an agreement to allow upgrade of a stretch of road at border of Kenya and South Sudan.

Governors Josphat Nanok and Louis Lobong Lojore this morning signed a resolution to jointly support the continuation of works of the Nadapal River Section A1 Road, which is part of the Lokichar-Nadapal/Nakodok road upgrade.

The resolution affirms the two sub-governments’ commitment to the success of the construction, with the road key in plans to grow cross-border trade and movement of people between Kenya and South Sudan. With the signing witnessed by CS John Munyes and County Commissioner Wambua Muthama, the two governments committed to promote peace building initiatives, social cohesion and harmony among border communities.

Turkana County Attorney Erastus Ethekon facilitated the signing of the document.

They also resolved to jointly nurture and grow crossborder trade and movement of goods and services for benefit of the communities and economic development of Kenya and South Sudan.

The resolution also states the pledge by the two leaders to fast-track development of community social infrastructure in the border areas including provision of water, health facilities, market and access roads to benefit border communities. Present during the signing of the resolutions was Chairman KNCCI Pius Ewoton.

Later, Governor Lojore led a joint delegation of senior government officials from both countries to Nadapal to speak to officials and communities about the agreement and its implementation. During the meeting Turkana County Secretary Peter Eripete called on communities and officials to honour the agreement to upgrade the 1KM stretch of A1 road on Nadapal River that witnessed conflict in the past between border communities.

County Commissioner Muthama said that the Kenya Government was optimistic that the A1 road according to Engineers will be complete by February next year, with involvement of workers from both communities.

Governor Louis Lobong urged both Kenyan and South Sudanese Security agencies to draw a joint work plan to provide security to the road constructors.

Other Turkana County staff present at the meeting were Director for Public Administration Alexander Losikiria and Lokichoggio Ward Admin Echip Obeid.

National Government officials were County Police Commandant Samuel Ndanyi, CCI0 Peter Kimulwa, NDMA County Drought Coordinator Abdulkadir Hassan Jillo, NDMA Lodwar Office representative Josephat Lotwel among others. From South Sudan side were Kapoeta East MP Peter Lobei, Kapoeta East County Commissioner Abdallah Lokeno among other top South Sudanese officials.

GOVERNOR NANOK ASKS RESIDENTS TO PRAY FOR PEACEFUL ELECTIONS

Lodwar, 1st October 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)- Religious leaders have been asked to pray for politicians to engage in peaceful campaigns as the country heads to next year’s general election.

Speaking today during the consecration of Bishop Francis Namuya as the Regional Overseer of the Turkana Region of the Full Gospel Churches of Kenya (FGCK) in Lodwar, the Governor said the church played a critical role to ensure stability in the County and Kenya.

“I ask church leaders to pray for leaders as our country heads into 2022 campaigns, that they have wisdom, engage in politics that is devoid of insults and violence,” he said, adding that it was through prayer that good leaders will be elected in the County and national seats.

“With prayer we will get a good Governor, MPs, Senator, MCAs and president who will listen to issues from the electorate. I believe that God will listen to our prayers and give guidance,” the Governor said.

He implored on politicians to respect wisdom of voters, seek their votes by arguing their qualification and let residents make independent choices.

Governor Nanok who was accompanied by County First Lady Margaret Nanok, congratulated Bishop Namuya on his consecration and expressed appreciation for the pastor’s constant prayer and advice to all leaders.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago who represented Deputy President William Ruto at the ceremony asked religious leaders not to bar politicians from church attendance, insisting that they too needed God’s guidance.

The consecration was presided over by the FGCK General Overseer Bishop Dr. David Macharia. Leaders at the ceremony were Senator Malachy Ekal, Speaker of County Assembly Ekitela Lokaale, MPs James Lomenen (Turkana South), Daniel Epuyo (Turkana West), Jeremiah Lomurkai (Loima) and Joyce Emanikor (Women Rep); MCAs Robert Lowoko (Lodwar Township) and James Ikeny (Kanamkemer) among others.

Senior County Government officials present included County Executive Philip Aemun (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries) and Emathe Namuar (Finance and Economic Planning), TCPSB Chair Dr. John Ng’asike among others.

COUNTY GOVERNMENT, KENYA SOCIETY FOR THE BLIND PARTNER TO SUPPORT THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED

Lodwar, 1st October 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– The County Government and the Kenya Society for the Blind (KSB) are set to collaborate in programmes to support residents of Turkana who are visually impaired.

In a meeting yesterday at the County HQ, Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro and KSB Chairman Samson Waweru agreed on need to establish an MoU which will guide partnership to carry out joint programmes, including eye camps and equipment support to visually impaired.

Waweru insisted that a strategic partnership will make possible plans for the KSB to more in Turkana. He informed the DG that the Society had planned CSR activities in Turkana, including a medical camp this month where those with eye conditions will be treated and receive specialized equipment.

He said the organisation was committed to conduct capacity building programmes for the blind, including provide assistive devices and training on how to be independent. He revealed that KSB had secured white canes which will be distributed to school of visually impaired in Loima during a medical camp to be held on 28th October.

The DG appreciated the Society’s choice of Turkana to provide the eye treatment camps and assured of the County Government’s willingness to sign an agreement with KSB.

He outlined the county’s investment to address eye conditions and support the visually impaired, including equipping of the eye unit at the LCRH and the new modern eye theatre set up in Lokitaung Hospital with support from Spanish Doctors to Kenya.

He said the new state of the art theatre will be one of its kind and contribute to end referrals of cases out of Turkana.

The DG promised support for the KSB medical camp and underlined its importance in creating awareness on eye conditions. He urged for the society’s support to schools of the blind with equipment including braille material.

In the meeting was Director for Medical Supplies Dr. Joseph Epem, LCRH Deputy Director Dr. Yvonne Musa, County Eyecare Coordinator Samson Akichelem Lokele and Turkana Central Sub County Eyecare Coordinator Sarah Lomuria.

The KSB Chairman was accompanied by Head of Eyecare Department Daniel Masese and Head of Operations James Kago.

COUNTY REVENUE COLLECTION MAINTAINS, DESPITE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The County Revenue Directorate managed to collected KSh106 million in the second half-year of financial year 2020/2021 compared to the first half of KSh74 million,

In the 2020/2021 the revenue target was KSh175 million which the Directorate managed to surpass with a surplus of KSh7 million. This meant a total of KSh182 million was collected, despite of the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This performance was attributed to the reintroduction of waived charges and more enforcement particularly on single business permits and cess. The waived charges had been issued to cushion the business community against the pandemic.

During this period, there was low collection from some of the revenue streams particularly single business permits in the hospitality sector and reduction in some of the fees through the Finance Act of 2020/2021 for example Auction fees, Slaughter Fees and entry cess for agricultural produce.

Adopted interventions as internal push for full collection of which currently stands at 90% and building of stronger stakeholder relations with other county directorates and associations assisted in improving the revenue collection. It also increased public sensitisation activities.

Speaking during an annual staff meeting, CEC Joseph Namuar said that the county government was working towards diversifying its revenue sources. He mentioned the leasing income from the soon to be completed lodges in Lokiriama, Kataboi and Kainuk and the recycling centre, parking fees and the monthly boda boda fee that would assist in improving the collections.

“There may be a lots of complaints from the boda boda riders about the KSh200 fee but it will assist them and the county government to organise as the fee will go to constructing parking shades,” he said.

He also cautioned those issuing waivers to cease immediately as it was against the law as stipulated in the Finance Act for it is only the office of the CEC Finance which is mandated to issue waivers.

Speaking on behalf of the Chief Officer Abraham Losinyen, Deputy Director of Treasury Emmanuel Lochor congratulated the staff for surpassing the revenue target and working conditions improvement that is ongoing.

He added that promotions will depend on the Human Resource Audit report, but the staff should continue to be dedicated to their jobs.

On her part, the Director of Revenue Shemmy Ekuwom not only praised the staff for their exemplary performance but urged them to constantly refer the current Finance Act to familiarise themselves with the fees, fines, rates and charges to be collected. She also added that they should not stick to the “traditional” streams and instead diversify the collection by enforcing more streams as indicated in the Finance Act.

The County Executive recognised and appreciated the staff’s hard work and with this year’s (2021/2022) target set at Ksh180M, he urged them to continue working in the same spirit.

GOVERNOR NANOK MEETS DANISH REFUGEE COUNCIL COUNTRY DIRECTOR

Lodwar, 30th September 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– Governor Josphat Nanok today hosted Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Country Director Simon Nzioka, who led a delegation to the County Government HQ.

They held discussion on support to the County’s resettlement programme, cross-border peace, collaboration on social protection initiatives, community involvement in engagement over land governance and implementation of the integration programme of refugees and host communities.

The Governor said there was need for development of a common sustainable approach to address conflict related to resources among cross-border communities.

He said the rise in cases of insecurity witnessed in cross-border and sections of Turkana East coincided with severe droughts, as communities moved in search of pasture and water. He insisted that the cycle of violence will only be broken if government and partners work to solve challenges faced by pastoralist communities.

Highlighting progress of the county resettlement programme, Governor Nanok called for DRC’s support for the initiative and to rebuild livelihoods of communities previously displaced by insecurity. He explained that vacated lands created breeding grounds for banditry, with resettling these areas a solution to drive out the menace.

On KISEDP, the Governor said the county was proud of its being central in the developing the innovative solution to refugee assistance, revealing that the integration programme had contributed to end of refugee and host community conflicts.

He said joint stakeholder involvement was critical in discussions over community land rights and governance, with the County Government pushing for better community participation and adherence to the Community Land Act.

DRC County Director Nzioka said the organisation will work with government to ensure cross-border peace and stability. He said the organisation was implementing the EU-funded Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) programme, which focused on ‘crisis response, conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis preparedness, and in addressing global and trans-regional threats’.

Acting County Executive for Education, Sports and Social Protection George Emoru called for DRC’s support to address rising street children population in Kakuma and Lokichoggio, to rehabilitate and reunite those with families.

Others who took part in the discussion were Chief Officer for Administration and Disaster Management Esther Ikaru, Advisor on Gender, Partnership and Children Affairs Phoebe Kaaman; Directors Victor Lekaram (Urban Areas Management), Joseph Egiron (Survey) and John Lokoli (Ag. Peace).

Also present was DRC’s Head of Programme for Humanitarian Disarmament and Peace Building Abdul Haro, Northrift Area Manager Susan Mulievi, IcSP Project Coordinator Matthew Logurale and DRC Lodwar Office Coordinator Raphael Locham.

GOVERNOR NANOK CALLS FOR PARTNER SUPPORT TO DEVELOP EDUCATION INFRASTRUCTURE

Lodwar, 30th September 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– There is need for additional investment in education infrastructure in Turkana, to ensure all children in Turkana are in school, Governor Josphat Nanok has said.

Speaking during a meeting with UNICEF Kenya Deputy Representatives Jean Lokenga and Anselme Motcho at the County Government HQ, the Governor said over 250,000 children were out of school due to lack of adequate infrastructure.

“Jointly with development organisations, we need to work to get more children to school, get more pupils in ECDEs and ensure 100% transition to primary and secondary schools,” he said.

Despite the county establishing over 900 ECDE centres, the Governor said the vast nature of the county meant children living in sparsely populated areas will have to travel long distances to school. He stated that this coupled with poor infrastructure in primary and secondary schools, was affecting transition rates.

He commended the strong partnership with UNICEF in health, water sanitation and hygiene, social and child protection programmes; and promised to strengthen collaboration with UN agencies under the ‘Delivery as One’ programme.

He asked for UNICEF’s input in the county’s ECDE policy that is under development, agreeing that the policy will guide establishment of strong framework to grow the sector. The Governor appreciated UNICEF’s commitment to support the county develop a water masterplan for Lodwar town and implementation of the Water Act (2019).

Deputy Rep. Lokenga said the organisatioon was proud of its work in Turkana and Governor Nanok’s commitment to the partnership. He said the county was a priority area for UN, with agencies aiming at establishing strong capacities and foundation.

Chief Officer for Water Moses Natome updated the team on progress of the KOICA/Unicef water project with over 50 boreholes drilled and 30 equipped. Chief Officer for Education, Sports and Social Protection Pauline Lokuruka appreciated UNICEF support in developing capacity of education stakeholders and renovations of five ECDE centres in Turkana West. She asked for extension of such programmes to other sub-counties.

LCRH Deputy Director (Clinical Services) Dr. Yvonne Musa highlighted successes of the collaboration with UNICEF, including renovation of the maternity unit, wellness centre, new maternity theater, equipping of new born unit among others.

In the meeting was Director for Water Tito Ochieng, Advisor on Gender, Partnership and Children Affairs Phoebe Kaaman as well as UNICEF Chief of Lodwar Zonal Office Rotuno Kipsang. Director of Medical Supplies Dr. Joseph Epem appreciated collaboration to develop community health strategy and support to build capacity of community health volunteers.

GOVERNOR NANOK HOSTS US ENVOY TO KENYA

Lodwar, 28th September 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– Governor Josphat Nanok today hosted the US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim and Acting Ambassador to Kenya Eric Kneedler, who visited the County Government HQ.

In talks held this morning, Ambassador Kneedler said the US Embassy was proud of its partnership programmes in Turkana assured of continued support in health, food security, peace and security, good governance and democracy.

He said the MOU between USAID and the County Government was a benchmark for other development partnerships and highlighted the success of US-funded programmes in Turkana as a model for other regions in Kenya to emulate.

On his part, Governor Nanok assured the Ambassador of the County’s commitment to cement implementation of the MoU signed in 2019 as a collaborative framework for partnership with USAID, with programmes on food security and health.

He said the county’s development indicators had been improved through partner organisation support, with programmes filling gaps of government funding.

However, he agreed that there existed challenges in food security, health and residents’ access to water despite progress made under devolution. On solutions to the challenges, the Governor said his administration had strengthened partnership with development organisations and was pushing for greater private sector involvement to complement investments made by the county.

He gave an example of the Value Villages fish processing plant as a successful model for private sector involvement in high potential value chains. He said similar industries were needed for the livestock value chain that had potential to impact the livelihoods of residents who were majorly pastoralists.

He outlined the need for further support for cross-border peace initiatives, with increased cases of conflicts which have increased due to droughts as communities struggle for limited resources. The County boss said that the situation called for a clear policy decision by government on handling effects of severe drought on peace and security witnessed in security conflicts in Kapedo, Laikipia and at the border with Uganda.

He added that peace building needed to be strengthen in effort to address internal conflict, in order to grow potential hindered by insecurity.

The Governor explained challenges faced in the education sector, including the need for additional ECDE centres at the village level to reduce distance children have to take. Others were the inadequate infrastructure in primary and secondary schools and teacher shortage.

He agreed that devolution had changed the face of Turkana and insisted that improved livelihoods had reduced the number of communities impacted by effects of drought. He revealed that the county was supporting communities impacted with relief food distribution and water trucking.

Senior County Government officials present in the meeting were Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei; County Executives Philip Aemun (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries) and George Emoru (Acting- Education, Sports and Social Protection); Chief Officers Augustine Lokwang (Health) and Esther Ikaru (Administration and Disaster Management); Chief of Staff Ekuwom Nakiporo and Acting Director for Preventive and Promotive Health Alice Akalapatan.

US Embassy officials accompanying the Ambassador was Political Counsellor Christopher Carver, Naval Attaché Adam Rosensweet, Political/Special Advisor Veronica Nduva and Press Officer Andrew Veveiros.

STAKEHOLDERS ASKED TO COLLABORATE IN PROTECTING TURKANA ENVIRONMENT

Lodwar, September 28, 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro has called for collaborative efforts among stakeholders to avert pollution danger in the extractive sector.

Speaking today in his office when he hosted a delegation of Ministry of Petroleum and Mining and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), DG Lotethiro called for vigilance on disposal of waste from oil operations and management of waste sites.

He warned that the danger on immediate and future effect of toxic waste on the environment and local communities will be dire unless it was addressed. Last week DG Lotethiro led county environment teams to inspect Tullow waste sites following reports of improper disposal, management and seepage of waste in South Lokichar basin. The teams visited Amosing 1, 3 and 7, Twiga 1 and 2, Ekaales 1 and Etiir 1 to assess the situation and push the companies to rectify the situation to save the environment.

He called on Tullow and its partners to carry out an extensive Environmental Site Assessment in order to delineate the extent of contamination in both soil and ground water with haste. He said waste seepage could affect communities in the area digging shallow wells for water.

He said although the waste has been consolidated in Twiga 1 for proper management, there is still a pungent smell emanating from the pits even after excavation and transportation of wastes to Twiga 1 which means seepage through the liners occurred.

DG Lotethiro acknowledged the cordial working relationship between NEMA and County Department of Environment especially on disposal of wastes around South Lokichar basin. He called on NEMA to collaborate with Tullow and Africa Oil in assessment of waste sites to ensure the process was consultative, transparent and with integrity.

Chief Officer for Water Moses Natome called for an end to lack of transparency and involvement of the County Government in disposal and waste management by Tullow and its partners. He added that it was necessary for NEMA to step up its efforts and push the operators to safely dispose the waste.

NEMA Director General Mamo Boru Mamo said that the Agency was concerned with the three sites where the seepage had been reported and will seek explanation from Tullow and its partners on the solution of the problem. He said proper mediation and investigation for a suitable remediation was critical.

He said that environmental inspectors for Turkana had been gazetted but more were needed to ensure proper monitoring and protection of the environment.

Chairman of NEMA Board of Directors, John Konchellah said that it was important to protect the environment from contamination to have a safer Turkana for future generations as investors are only after profits.

Director of Mineral Resources Stella Opakas asked NEMA to train county staff in the management and protection of the environment as use of mercury, cyanide and explosives for mineral extraction is rising. She warned that there is a likelihood of mercury, cyanide and other extractive chemicals getting into water and food systems in Turkana South as the mines are close to farms which is Turkana food basket.

Her counterpart for Environment Clement Nadio said that NEMA and county can partner and pool resources to undertake sampling and testing together to determine amount of dangerous chemicals around extractive sites.

Present during the meeting were Chairman Mineral Rights Board Stephen Kuria, Senior Assistant Director in the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining Mburu Samuel and Principal Geologist Joseph Simiyu Sirengo among other officials.

COUNTY GOVERNMENT MOVES TO SUPPORT COMMUNITIES IN RESETTLEMENT SCHEMES

Lodwar, 23rd September 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– Deputy Governor yesterday led senior County Government departments to Kaputir Ward to access development needs of residents in resettlement schemes and distribute relief food.

The DG told the community in Lorokon to feel welcome, settle in the area and take up different economic activities, including agriculture and livestock keeping to rebuild their livelihood. He announced that the County had concluded recruitment of village admins and that they will be posted after completing their induction.

Speaking to community representatives at Kaputir Ward Admin Office, the DG assured that the County Government will support the community to set up resettlement schemes, and invest in social amenities including ECDE centre, health centre and water infrastructure.

He revealed that the county had procured building material for resettlement scheme, with county technical teams in the area to kick off development projects.

The DG urged for peaceful coexistence between communities living near the border with West Pokot to ensure stability success of planned development. He encouraged community elders spearhead community engagement with neighbouring Pokots, to deal with any cases of criminal activity.

He commended Kaputir MCA Shadrack Lodong’a for championing peaceful coexistence between Turkana and Pokot communities which was contributing to good relations pushed by Governor Nanok’s administration.

DG Lotethiro, who is also Acting CEC for Water and Mineral Resources, led heads of County Departments to access the situation in the area and launched relief food distribution.

Chief Officers for Water Moses Natome revealed that county water technicians were carrying out assessments to advise water borehole drilling to supply water to residents. Chief Officer for Administration and Disaster Management Esther Ikaru added that the county will in two weeks begin relief food distribution to cushion residents against effect of drought.

Chief Officer for Health Augustine Lokwang’ agreed that the increase in population required improved health services and promised to begin health outreach to provide more specialized healthcare.

Other County Government officials present were County Executive for Tourism George Emojong’, Directors Samuel Eregae (ECDE), John Lokoli (Peace) and Tito Ochieng (Water) among others.