Stay up to date with Turkana County’s news, opportunities and notifications.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 8TH STATE OF COUNTY ADDRESS

Lodwar, 2nd December 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– Governor Josphat Nanok today delivered his 8th State of the County Address to the County Assembly, which focused on the progress made by the County Government in the eight and a half years of devolution.

The Governor stated that devolution had changed the narrative of Turkana, and that due to investment by the County Government residents have better access to basic services compared to 2013.

He expressed commitment to ensure the next administration inherited few incomplete projects and expressed hope that the Turkana electorate will elect an administration that will build on the foundation he had set.

“I wish to report the foundation for the development of Turkana set in the last eight and a half years is firm. In the remaining period of my term, I am committed to ensure that all development projects that we initiated but remain incomplete, are all concluded,” he said.

In health, he outlined development which began with establishment of basic healthcare services, to increase in health services to 207 facilities. This increase is attributed to the reduction in distance to health facility from 50km to 15km.

Number of Healthcare workers has increased from 266 to 1883, resulting in increased immunization coverage from 45.2 percent to 84.2 percent in 2021, reduction in HIV prevalence rate from 6.9% to 3%, increase in number of mothers seeking skilled deliveries from 25.2% to 65.1% among other positive indicators.

In the water sector, the Governor said the county had improved access to clean water through water projects including over 700 boreholes contributing to 54,000 households having access to piped water compared to slightly over 10,000 in 2013.

He stated that 60% of residents have access to water compared to just 39% in 2013.

In education, the County has established seven vocational training centres in Lokichoggio, Lorugum, Katoboi, Kaaleng, Lokichar, Lokori and expanded infrastructure of the Lodwar VTC. Number of trainees has increased from 111 in 2014 to over 2000 this year.

Public ECDE centres have increased to 937, contributing to increase in enrollment to 137,569 pupils.

He revealed that the county had disbursed over Sh1.4 billion through the skills development programme, which has benefitted 172,400 students across different levels of education

Other highlights include:

  • 47 irrigation schemes with land under crop production, resulting in an increase from 8,900 acres to 51000 acres of land currently with high crop productivity.
  • Mechanisation of agriculture through procurement of 13 tractors to increase land preparation
  • Improved livestock infrastructure, including construction of livestock market sale yards from 20 sale yards in 2013 to 38 in 2020, strategic livestock feeds stores from 1 in 2013 to 4 in 2020 benefiting 40,000 persons.
  • Support to fisherfolk through distribution of fishing gear and boats, three fish stores in Lowarengak, Nachukui and Kerio and established five (5) fish drying racks at Choro Island and Kaito. Increase in Beach Management Units from 6 to 30.
  • Completion of 23 resettlement schemes in regions across the county where insecurity and other disasters led to displacement of communities, in addition to four new schemes currently being undertaken
  • Established ward admin offices in all the 30 wards and recruitment of sub-county, ward and 149 village administrators to boost government presence in the grassroots.
  • On human resource, the county has employed 3,758 employees, an increase from 800 staff inherited from defunct county council and seconded from the national government
  • 14 markets established to boost trade, compared to just two in 2013.
  • On infrastructure, 5000km of roads have been upgraded and maintained with the county spending Sh1.2 billion.

The Governor was received at the Assembly chambers by Speaker Erastus Lokaale, and was accompanied by senior County Government officials led by County Secretary Peter Eripete.

HIGH HIV NEW INFECTION RATE AMONG TURKANA YOUTH IS ALARMING – CEC JANE AJELE

Health County Executive Jane Ajele has said that the county government is focused on the prevention of HIV transmission among the youth in order to safeguard Turkana’s future generation.
Speaking during the 33rd World Aids Day – marked every 1st December, CEC Ajele said that of the 42% of the newly infected with HIV are youth aged 15-24 years which she describes as unacceptable as most of the infected young girls/women get pregnant as well.
“We must stop this because it is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for our young girls to thrive and it called for a multisectoral approach to address the vulnerabilities these women,” she said.
In relation to this year’s national theme #EndTeenagePregnancy, she urged the youth particularly the women to practise abstinence not only to prevent being HIV infected but also pregnancies which can lead to health complications.
According to the National Aids Control Council, for every five women one is attending 1st antenatal care (ANC) is an adolescent girl aged 10-19 years and every week 277 women aged 15-24 year is newly infected with HIV. In Turkana County, the total number of new infections among the youth in 2020 were 244 which was an increase from 175 in 2018.
To address the teenage pregnancy cases in the county, the county government in partnership with other partners set up the Youth Friendly Centre at Lodwar County Referral Hospital. The centre is a safe space for the youth to get support for those who are expectant as well as medical services such as HIV testing and ANC.
In the event some of the expectant teenagers are HIV infected, the county government has rolled out HIV point of care testing technology (POCT) in five sub-counties in the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT). This has reduced infant diagnosis from 20-30 days to less than 24 hours, thus enabling the health officers enrol infant in early treatment.
The County Health Executive also urged people to get tested as it was equally important to know one’s HIV status. “If you are found positive, you will be put on antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) and continue being a productive member of society.”
Other speakers included Health Chief Officer Capt. (Rdt) Augustine Lokwang’, Andrew Mutumwa (Assistant County Commission – Kerio), Prof Clifford Machogu (Turkana University College), Dr Bonventure Ameyo (County Director – Preventive and Promotive), Samuel Pulkol (County AIDS & STIs Coordinator), Evans Asembo (Deputy Chief of Party – USAid Imarisha Jamii) and Bernard Mwaura (National Aids Control Council).
Other partners represented included Kenya Red Cross – Turkana Branch, Diocese of Lodwar, Yunitok, Network of People Living with HIV AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK), Apese Ere, World Vision, AIC Health Ministries and Kenya Highway Authority.

COUNTY HEALTH TO MAINSTREAM TRACHOMA ELIMINATION

County Department of Health Services and Sanitation is in the process of developing a transition plan that will seek to integrate the elimination of Trachomatus Trichiasis (TT) into the routine eye healthcare systems.

With the partners’ concluding their support, the transition plan is meant to ensure trachoma management is placed under dedicated service delivery activities into the routine healthcare system in order for the trachoma prevalence to be below 5% as recommended by WHO.

While giving his closing remarks, County Chief Officer of Health Services and Sanitation Captain (Rtd) Augustine Lokwang’ advised the participants that their transition planning and discussions should include all aspects of health.

“As the health department takes up more responsibilities of the partner supported programs, we have to think of self-sustainability,” he said.

He applauded the ophthalmic county team and partners for achievement made thus far in the reduction trachoma prevalence such the MDA campaigns in trachoma hotspots like Turkana North and West, construction of Lokituang Eye Clinic and theatre, eye medical camps done in collaboration with the Kenya Society for the Blind, Fred Hollows, Sight Savers, National Ministry of Health and Spanish Eye Doctors.

Trachomatus Trichiasis considered a neglected tropical disease has over the years become the focus of the World Health Organisation and affected countries like Kenya to eliminate the disease that when goes untreated leads to permanent blindness.

In 2010 TT prevalence in Turkana County stood at 42.3%, however due to short-term interventions – carried out by county government through the support of multiple partners – such mass drug administration (MDAs) and surgeries have managed to reduce the prevalence to 9.9%.

The plan’s implementation will eliminate reliance on short-term interventions to a long-term one known as SAFE (surgery, antibiotic, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement).

According to County Ophthalmic Services Coordinator – Samson Lokele, the county government had jumpstarted on some of the transition plan requirements such procurement of essential eye drugs, employment of 68 ophthalmic healthcare workers and training of community health volunteers (CHVs) as well as other cadres as identifiers.

Also present were Sarah Olalo (Program Manager, The Fred Hollow Foundation Kenya) Ernest Wanyama (National Trachoma Coordinator) and Titus Kimani (Trachoma Focal Point Person) from the Division of Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Disease – Ministry of Health.

TRAINING TO HELP STRENGTHEN MATERNAL AND NEWBORN HEALTH IN TURKANA

Over 30 county healthcare workers are currently undergoing a capacity building training on Emergency Obstetric Newborn Care (EmoNC) with the aim of provide comprehensive maternal and newborn services in health facilities.

According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014, Turkana County is losing 1,594 mothers per 100,000 live births.  To this end, the EmoNC training is meant to equip healthcare workers with the necessary primary care skills to mitigate morbidity and mortality for mothers and newborns who deliver in all the 228 health facilities across the county.

The training, supported by International Rescue Committee (IRC), is targeting 33 health workers from four sub-counties; Turkana South, Turkana West, Loima and Turkana East.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Gilchrist Lokoel – Director of Medical Services – said that no woman should lose her life while bringing forth a new life. He urged the participants to sensitise the communities on the benefits of delivering in a health facility and provide good customer care service.

“My hope is that you [the participants] will be soldiers of change that will reduce the maternal mortality rate in Turkana so as to avoid the unnecessary dying of our mothers and newborns,” he said.

At the Lorugum Sub-county Hospital, Sister Veronica Mbula attends to approximately 20 deliveries per month. Having been a nurse at the maternity and new born unit for the last 10 years, she has seen the hospital transform into a referral facility for Loima Sub-county. As a participant of the EmoNC training, she expects to offer improved health services to the patients.

“This training will give me the knowledge and skills to manage the obstetric emergences because we get them every day,” she said. “Instead of referring them to Lodwar County Referral Hospital, we can manage them in Lorugum.”

This is because Sister Mbula has witnessed an increase of premature births and anaemic mothers; the latter being at risk of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH).

Nargis Kaka, a mid-wife from the Nursing Council of Kenya and the course director, says that training is skills based and the participants will be practising on mannequins and role plays as well as proper patient documentation.

Dr. Lokoel appreciated the National government officials who were some of the instructors and IRC for making the training possible.

HUNDREDS OF VILLAGES FETED FOR ATTAINING ODF IN TURKANA WEST

Two hundred and thirty villages, from the host community and refugees were recognised and awarded for their achievement in being certified as open defecation free (ODF) and maintaining high standards of sanitation and hygiene.

This water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project, a partnership of Turkana County Government and Peace Winds Japan funded by Unicef, begun in 2019 by targeting villages in both host communities and refugees. The villages were in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kalobeyei Ward, Kakuma, Lopur, Letea and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement.

This initiative has greatly reduced the outbreaks of sanitation and hygiene related diseases such diahorea and cholera in the host communities and refugees.

In her speech read by Deputy Director Daniel Esimit – Health Promotion and Disease Control County Executive Jane Ajele, who was the chief guest, said that the overall impact of the project has led to a remarkable reduction of sanitation and hygiene related diseases in the past one year.

“With Turkana West sub-county’s latrine coverage increasing from 31% to 77%, the sub-county contributes to saving of Kshs102 million following the attainment of the first 209 ODF villages,” she said.

The area Member of Parliament, Daniel Epuyo Nanok appreciated and congratulated Turkana West community for taking lead in open defecation certification process.

“The county government and partners should scale up and focus on the remaining sub-counties bearing in mind sustainability,” he said.

However, Epuyo decried on delay in completion of water project in Kakuma which would have contributed raising sanitation and hygiene standards in the town and its environs.

While making his remarks, Deputy Director Esimit urged the people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as it was still a threat.

“Let us sensitize each other on the early symptoms of diseases and people should do not employ the wait-and-see approach but seek services from nearby health facility.

He said the county government had constructed facilities, deployed human resource and supplied enough drugs for the people.

Akiko Chiba, the County Representative of Kenya Mission – Peace Winds Japan, said that the journey to the ODF has been of great success as is evident with the villages that were being celebrated.

She said that sanitation was key to a healthy society and commended the villages for their efforts.

Turkana West Sub-County Administrator, Joshua Napoco, said promoting the ownership of the latrine facilities will assist in the sustainability aspect. He tasked the wards administrators and the recently deployed village administrators to work alongside county public health team to sensitize the communities on pit latrine usage.

WASH County Coordinator WASH Reuben Kibiego said outbreaks of cholera were common in Kakuma Camp but now with more villages certified as ODF cholera outbreaks will be thing of the past.

The most outstanding county certifiers and villages were recognised with certificates and trophies.

Others who spoke were Yussuf Salat (Deputy County Commissioner of Turkana West), Dr. Kasili Mutambo (Camp Manager – Refugees Affairs Secretariat) and Oscar Nabiswa (WASH officer – UNHCR).

LOKICHAR OIL FIELDS WASTE SAMPLES TAKEN FOR LABORATORY ANALYSIS

Oil and gas exploration activities in the South Lokichar basin will continously be checked by the County Government of Turkana and National Environment Management Authority officials so as to safeguard local residents from potentially hazardous pollutants, Director Clement Nadio has said.

Speaking after a joint team of County and NEMA officials completed random collection of samples for laboratory analysis, Director Nadio pledged to make public the results and added that non-compliance to Environmental protection laws would not be tolerated in Turkana.

Director Nadio lauded the locals for their vigilance and prompt reporting of the visible discoloration of soil and liquid waste around well pads to the County Government authorities early last month.

While noting that Environment Officers had been empowered through a KDSP sponsored training on enforcement of Environmental laws, Nadio assured residents of the Countys’ commitment towards ensuring compliance on the part of oil and gas exploration operators.

He clarified that both liquid and soil samples had been collected from Etiir and Amosing 3 well pads for submission to the NEMA accredited Laboratories for chemical analysis.

The sample collection exercise which also involved Project Oil Kenya comes barely a month after another Multisectoral team had surveyed the area and recommend the institution of corrective measures including random collection of samples.

William Mbotela (Senior Environment Officer-Turkana East), Lydia Ejore (Senior Environment Officer-Turkana South), David Epeta (Ward Environment Officer), Francis Emanikor (NEMA) and Project oil Kenya officers participated in the exercise.

GOVERNOR NANOK URGES INTERGOVERNMENTAL COLLABORATION TO ENSURE SUCCESS OF INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

Lodwar, 4th November 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– National Government agencies implementing infrastructure projects in Turkana have been encouraged to foster good partnership with the County Government to ensure residents of the county benefit from the projects.

Governor Josphat Nanok has urged agencies implementing different components of the East Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project (EARTTDP), to maintain spirit of collaboration that led to signing of MoU between the County and KeNHA. The agencies include KeNHA, the ICT Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

Under the MoU, the County Government waived charges for construction material sourced by contractors engaged in the road project while KeNHA committed Sh2.8billion in social infrastructure project across the county.

The Governor spoke yesterday when he met a delegation of Joint World Bank implementation support mission for EARTTDP in the County HQ, Lodwar. The delegation which was led by Project Coordinator Eng. Joseph Theuri are in Turkana to inspect ongoing works on the Lokichar- Nadapal/Nakodok road upgrade and laying of fibre optic cable.

He said the county was looking forward to the implementation of the social infrastructure projects set be rolled out, following agreement on choice of projects and their location.

The Governor agreed that fibre optic cable will support development of private sector-led tech hub as a driver for economic development. He urged the ICT Authority to practice fairness in connection of public institutions with the fibre optic.

He also urged KeNHA to improve quality of access roads into the main roads and provide service roads in urban centres to support trade development.

The County boss decried collusion of cartels in the transport sector to maintain prices high despite the improved infrastructure. He lauded the resolution signed with Governor of Eastern Equatoria Louis Lobong Lojore as a local solution which unlocked the impasse over the construction of 1km Nadapal River road section. He said constant engagement was needed to address challenges arising in the resolution’s implementation.

DG Lotethiro asked KeNHA to ensure the roads constructed were user-friendly, with better access roads and service lanes to support businesses in urban centres along the highway.

Engineer Theuri thanked the Governor for supporting the government and World Bank team since the project launch. He assured that the Loichangkamatak- Nadapal road was on course to be completed by May, while the 40km Lokichar-Loichangkamatak was at 35 percent.

He agreed that the road improvement had already contributed to growth of the economy and expressed hoped for continued partnership with the County Government.

World Bank Task Team Leader Eng. Susan Owuor said the mission was happy with progress of road works, but revealed that team was seeking for an extension to complete other remaining projects, including the fibre optic cable.

Senior County Government officials present at the meeting were Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei, County Executives Jane Ajele (Health) and Emathe Namuar (Finance and Economic Planning); Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo, Acting Chief Officer for Trade James Lokwale and Superintending Engineer Amos Lokalale.

In the mission was World Bank’s Head Transport Specialist Josephat Sasia, KeNHA Deputy Director Eng. Muita Ngatia and Assistant Director for Development Eng. Julius Mak’Oderoh among others.

BOOST TO ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AS 30 COUNTY OFFICERS TRAINED

Turkana County has finally acquired the capacity to enforce the overall legislative regime governing environmental functions after 30 of it’s officers graduated with basic certificate in environmental enforcement.

“The graduation is a big step towards the creation of an empowered workforce whose duties is to spearhead environmental conservation” Chief Officer Moses Natome said.

Speaking today during the closure of the one-week long training, Chief Natome said that the graduation was yet another milestone in addition to staff who had already been trained by NEMA accredited entities on Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).

Chief Natome explained that the training would aid both Environment and Enforcement officers to be more vigilant on compliance requirements especially in urban areas of Turkana County.

While acknowledging the role of Kenya Devolution Support Program (KDSP) for supporting the capacity building venture under the Key Result Area 4 focusing on Social and Environmental safeguard, Chief Natome urged the graduands to apply the skills acquired to discharge their mandates more effectively.

County Director for Environment Clement Nadio explained that the training also included an aspect of team building, drafting of improvement orders and basic physical endurance required when undertaking enforcement work.

In addition to focusing on the provisions of Environmental Management Coordination Act (EMCA), Director Nadio said that the training touched on legislative regimes on climate smart interventions, waste management, air quality regulation, noise control and conservancy among others.

Director Nadio added that the inclusion of Rangers as part of the trainees was intentionally prioritized for cross sharing of experiences and creation of teams for executing the interlinked functions in the course of duty.

Director Nadio promised to support the graduands in implementing their newly acquired skills by co-ordinating with the local NEMA office for provision of technical assistance and continuous exposure to additional trainings.

The ceremony was also attended and addressed by Jacob Asembo (Director, NEMA Turkana), Francis Lokwar (County Focal person for KDSP program), Kenya Wildlife and Kenya Forestry representatives, Conservation experts Peter Lokitela among others.

GOVERNOR NANOK MEETS NEW HEAD OF UNHCR KAKUMA SUB OFFICE

Lodwar, 2nd November 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– Governor Josphat Nanok today hosted the new Head of UNHCR Kakuma Sub Office Nicolas Kaburaburyo, who paid a courtesy visit to the County Government HQ.

The two held talks on strengthening relations between the County Government and the refugee agency in implementation of the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Programme (KISEDP) and other partnership projects for the benefit of refugees and host community in Turkana West.

The County boss welcomed the new HSO to Turkana and assured of the county’s commitment to the collaboration with UNHCR and the region’s hosting of refugees.

On progress of KISEDP, Governor Nanok said a midterm review was needed to review status of collaborative effort of UNHCR and the County Government. He stated with the imminent transition of Kakuma-Kalobeyei into a municipality, KISEDP will play a big role in supporting urban infrastructural development.

He said the County will soon roll out engagement with public on discussions over land use, for different use including investments in major urban centres.

On planned establishment of an open university in Kakuma, the Governor said while the County Government and political leadership were in support of the initiative, an agreement was still being sought with the National Ministry of Education over ownership and management of the institution.

He invited UNHCR participation in this year’s edition of Tobong’u Lore, planned for 6th- 11th December and assured that the refugee community will be involved in the cultural celebration. The HSO updated the Governor that UNHCR was continuing with implementation of the refugee programme and other projects while awaiting further directions on planned closure of refugee camps in the country.

He agreed with the Governor on need for a midterm review of KISEDP in preparation for the second phase of implementation.

County Executive for Finance and Economic Planning Emathe Namuar called for automation of KISEDP indicators to make monitoring and evaluation easier in the second phase.

Senior County Government officers present in the meeting were Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro, Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei, County Executive for Public Service, Administration and Disaster Management Charles Lokioto, Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo and Assistant Director for Monitoring and Evaluation Mike Ekwanga who is also KISEDP Focal Person.

The UNHCR delegation included Development Officer Salwa Asmat and Government Liaison Associate Philip Lomor.

FARMERS IN TURKANA URGED TO FOCUS ON HIGH VALUE CROPS

There is need by farmers in different parts of the county to engage in high value crops like sorghum, cotton and groundnuts that can fetch profitable prices in the market, County Executive for Agriculture Philip Ebei Aemun has said.

The high yielding crops alongside an improved farm infrastructure, he said, would increase efficacy in land preparation and farm operations leading to increased productivity and profitability for farmers

The County Executive was speaking today when he handed over a new Holland 75HP 4WD tractor, trailer and disc plough to members of the Katilu Irrigation Farmers’ Cooperative Society that had been procured by National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Project (NARIGP)

The equipment is meant to support land mechanization activities, through use of the tractor and its drawn implements. The grants funding to the producer group, which has more than 3000 members is expected increase efficiency, profitability and sustainability of cooperative activities through reduction of the cost of mechanization (ploughing and harrowing) from the current Sh2500 to Sh2000.

To increase crop production and sustainability of producer groups, CECM Aemun challenged farmer committee to utilize the farm machinery well and transition themselves from subsistence to commercial farming that’s profitable.

This he said can be achieved through engagement with private stakeholders who would help with resources and skills mobilization to reclaim and expand hundreds of underutilized farming land at Katilu irrigation scheme.

NARIGP’s Turkana coordinator Joseph Ekalale said they had used a total of Sh5,499,056 in inclusion, capacity building and membership grant as well as enterprise development grant to support the cooperative society as they even plan to budget more for other community interest groups.

Area MCA James Abei acknowledged that Narigp’s programmes had boosted livelihoods activities for many in his ward but called for rotation planting of crops from farmers to enable them get market for their farm produce.

Others who spoke included Directors Paul Lokone (Agriculture), Benson Akol (Cooperative) Deputy Director Victor Lochee (Agriculture) as well as National Irrigation Authority’s Katilu Manager Daniel Waweru, among others.

Officers from Turkana South Sub-County drawn from different departments were led by Sub-County Administrator Esther Lokitoe.