GOVERNOR NANOK APPEALS FOR ADHERENCE TO SAFETY MEASURES TO GUARD AGAINST CORONA VIRUS INFECTION

Residents of Turkana have been urged to observe safety and hygiene measures to safeguard against the novel corona virus infection.

In a press briefing today at the County Government offices, the Governor called for strict observance of guidance on social distancing, handwashing and respiratory hygiene. He decried the lack of discipline in following the directives especially among residents of urban centres.

The Governor also announced a raft of measures by the County Government to fight spread of the disease.

He said the County Emergency Response Committee (CERC) which is chaired by the Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro will spearhead corona virus preparedness, prevention and response.

He added that screening points had been set up at entry and strategic areas while sub county teams with inclusion of County Health volunteers have begun community sensitization across the county.

Governor Nanok debunked the myth that the corona virus could not survive in warm temperatures and advised residents not to have a false sense of safety.

On businesses hiking prices of commodities, the Governor has warned those found guilty of taking advantage of the pandemic to increase prices of goods will have their business permits revoked.

He revealed that Governors in North Rift were in discussions to keep open supply chain of important commodities including food stuff to cushion consumers.

He said the County Government had begun supplying water to areas without water connection and to enable handwashing and other usage.

He said the County was planning this week to have non-essential staff go on leave to reduce overcrowding in government offices but ensure essenitial services were still available to the public.

On procurement of special equipment, the Governor said it was up to the government to supply equipment that the County Government cannot procure through KEMSA. He stated that construction of the ICU wing at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital will be fastracked to be ready in the event infections are reported.

He said the county had in store four-month stock of medicine and had ordered for the supply of another six-month stock.

The County boss termed the campaign against Corona virus as war against an unseen enemy and cautioned that with the virus overwhelming global superpowers such as the US, Kenyans needed to take heed of guidance issued.

DG Lotethiro announced that so far no case of COVID-19 infection has been reported and called for residents to stay home and avoid unnecessary movement which could put them at risk. He revealed that screening points set by the County Government were in Kainuk, Lokichar and Turkana University cess points, LCRH, Lodwar and Kakuma Airstrip, Lokichoggio Airport, Lodwar GK Prison among others.

County Commissioner Wambua Muthama said security officers will enforce directives by the government prohibiting openining of hotels and bars and other social gathering.

County Health and Sanitation Executive Jane Ajele announced that a Quarantine centre had been established at KMTC Lodwar and warned those who had recently returned from trips abroad and contravened directives to self-quarantine, will be forcefully quarantined at the facility.

By Governor’s Press Service

COUNTY CONDUCTS SURVEILLANCE ON ZOONOTIC DISEASES

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STABILITY IN TURKANA SOUTH SHOULD STRENGTHEN FARMING RESILIENCE- DR. LOLELEA

County Chief Officer for Agriculture and Land Reclamation Dr. Jacob Lolelea has said that the current peace stability along the riverine belt in Turkana South Sub-County should motivate farming efforts in the region.

He stated that farmers should utilize the peaceful environment and government support to rejuvenate their efforts of crop production that he said had been hindered in the past because of insecurity.

The Chief Officer spoke at Simailele in Katilu Ward when he inspected the ongoing demarcation of indvidual farming plots in the farm  by surveyors from the National Government’s ministry of Agriculture.

Dr .Lolelea assured the  surveyors of County Government support towards realization of the DRSLP’s target at the  Simailele farming site, that is projected to indirectly benefit more than 2500 people.

He called on farmers present to support implementation of the programme and  urged Agriculture officers to help the County Government achieve it’s Food security agenda  by offering regular extension services to residents on food and livestock production.

The implementation of the 180 hectares of farming land project in Simailele is funded by African Development Bank through the State Department of Crop Development and Agricultural Research . Its being implemented in Turkana under the Drought Resilience And Sustainable Livelihoods Programme(DRSLP), that is domiciled in the County Department of Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries.

County Director of Veterinary Services Benson Longor expressed optimism that the Programme would be beneficial to locals because of its  Integrated approach that brings together the component of farming and livestock production in the farm.

20 hactres  of the farm has been hived off and fenced for establishment of a commercial pasture production while construction of a hay store which is part of the project  is half compl complete.

Apart from the equipped solar power and furnished office ,DRSLP has also identified and fenced a suitable site for construction of a grain store.

Also present were Irrigation Deputy Director Ken Wabwire ,Turkana County DRSLP Desk officer Paul Njuguna and a host of Agriculture officers from Turkana South Sub-County.

GOVERNOR NANOK PRESS RELEASE ON CORONA VIRUS DISEASE PREPAREDNESS IN TURKANA COUNTY

Background Information

A contagious respiratory disease that was first detected in Wuhan City,  Hubei Province in People’s Republic of China in December 2019 has spread to 146 Countries, including Kenya. This has necessitated WHO to declare Coronavirus Disease (COVID)-19 a pandemic.

Kenya now has three confirmed cases of COVID 19.Turkana has not reported any case yet. As a result of this outbreak in the country, my Government has set up a 10 member County Emergency Response Team (CERT) comprising of National and County Government representatives. The team met on 16th March, 2020 and reviewed the measures put in place by county department of health to contain the outbreak and to recommend practicable measures on mitigating the unfolding outbreak situation.

Measures put in place by Turkana County Government

My county has been in a preparedness state for the last four weeks in anticipation of this worsening outbreak situation.

Measures already put in place are:

  1. We have formed a County COVID -19 Emergency Response Team (CERT) Chaired by myself and co-chaired by County Commissioner which will coordinate county outbreak response efforts.
  2. We have formed a technical rapid response team whose role is to train health workers, sensitize members of public, draw up a preparation plan, help in early identification of cases and overally manage the outbreak on day to day basis in case it hits Turkana.
  3. We have identified and mapped out all potential entry points in Turkana. In the risk profiling already done, the identified high risk areas are: Lodwar, Kakuma, Kapese airstrips and Lokichoggio airport. Kainuk, Lokichar, Turkana University, Kakuma, Kalokol cess stations on top of Kapedo village, GK Prison and Nadapal, Lokiriama and Todonyang are all high priority areas for our interventions. Medium priority areas are Nawountos and Nakitongo informal border points. Screening and holding points have been set up in Lodwar airstrip and Lokichoggio airport. The other airstrips will be coveredin the next 48 hours in collaboration with UNHCR and Tullow Oil. Kainuk cess station has been conducting screening for the last three days. We have also in collaboration with the National Government set up screening points at International border point of Nadapal. Lokiriama border point will be fully operational as a screening point in the next 48 hours.
  4. Setting up of isolation units and holding areas at the County Referral Hospital, Sub County hospitals and all points of entry has been done. In total we have 57 isolation beds in 12 facilities spread across the county.
  5. Immediately began health education, public sensitizations and mass awareness on COVID 19 disease through radios, schools and other communication channels like PAS and CHV’s for nomadic communities. In this regard, 19,374 people have been reached so far with hand washing and prevention messages.
  6. Heightened surveillance at points of entry and across the county.
  7. Distribution of Personal Protective Equipment and Screening gear to the identified risk sites.
  8. We have established an incident command centre with free toll number for members of public to call in case of a suspected case or in the event they want additional information. The number for Turkana County is 0758722023. An additional toll number will be available in the next 48 hours.
  9. Monitoring of 7 foreign nationals on self-quarantine in the county of which 4 of them have completed monitoring period and have been given a clean bill of health whilst the remaining 3 will complete their self-quarantine on 18th March 2020.
  10. Set aside three designated ambulances to be stationed in Lokichar, Lodwar and Makutano for purposes of referral of cases to Isolation points.
  11. Capacity building of 7 initial staff who are currently undergoing training as Trainer of Trainees on lab sample collection and clinical management of COVID 19.

Going forward, I implore members of the public to adhere to the following precautions;

  1. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for more than 20 seconds, or frequently use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Maintain a distance of at least 2 meter (6 feet) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you have to touch them ensure your hands have been cleaned first.
  4. Shaking of hands is not advisable at this point as it may accelerate person to person transmission of COVID – 19
  5. Persons with fever cough or sneezing should stay at home or keep a social distance, and avoid mixing with others in a crowd. They should also call the toll free number for advice.
  6. Maintain good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. Use a single use disposable tissue, or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  7. Due to extreme climatic conditions experienced in Turkana where the days are very hot and the nights very cold, I herby advice all the residence to go to bed with warm clothes to protect themselves from vagaries of cold weather.

In Exercise of the authority vested upon my office, and in accordance with the provisions of the Public Health Act, Cap 242 Laws of Kenya, the general public is notified of the following directives which should be observed immediately;

  1. All public gatherings of more than 20 people are hereby banned. In this respect, harambees, faith based gatherings, funerals(only restricted to immediate family members), weddings, social congregations are hereby discouraged till further notice.
  2. All Early Childhood Centres (ECD’s) and vocational training centres have been directed to close with immediate effect.
  3. All seminars and trainings are suspended unless authorized by the office of county secretary.
  4. All official travels out of the county and county by staff are hereby suspended with immediate effect unless it’s of an emergency nature. Private travels outside the county are discouraged unless they are essential.
  5. All public offices, hospitals, malls, banks, restaurants, nights clubs, market stalls and hotels are directed to provide hand-washing facilities with running water with soap or alcohol based hand sanitizers.
  6. All discos and night clubs are banned
  7. Hospital visits will be limited to very critical caretakers; in any case 1 patient will only be allowed 1 caretaker. No visitors to hospitals will be allowed till further notice.
  8. All offices will have to put mechanisms of spacing of staff at work place, to at least 2 metres (6 feet apart) in place. Non-essential visitors to offices are discouraged.
  9. In collaboration with the national government, plans are underway to decongest Lodwar G.K Prison by immediate release of 125 petty offenders. Unnecessary visits to police stations are discouraged.
  10. All public transport providers including bodabodas, taxis, matatus, and buses are directed to provide alcohol based sanitizers and frequently fumigate their motorcycles or vehicles.
  11. All communication on COVID-19 progress in Turkana County will be availed by the County Department of Health.
  12. Spitting in public places or gatherings is hereby banned.
  13. My Government shall fast track recruitment of Health Care workers to help in combating this pandemic.

I hereby urge the people of Turkana County to be calm and avoid unnecessary panic at this time. We have a toll free number of 0758722023 for any information related to COVID-19.

Regular updates shall be provided periodically as the outbreak unfolds.

God bless you all and keep safe.

HE Hon. Josphat Koli Nanok EGH

Governor,

Turkana County.

Governor Nanok Press Release on COVID-19

Tilling of Land kicks off in Turkana North

Land preparation in readiness for planting season has started in several parts of  Turkana. County government tractors have been dispatched to all the sub-counties to till the selected farming land .

County director of Agriculture and Irrigation Paul Lokone yesterday toured Nadunga village, Kaeris ward in Turkana North Sub-County to inspect the ongoing preparation of land and planting of  Sorghum, in the more than 200 acres of farming site that is expected to indirectly support 1200 people.

The  new farm ,director Lokone said,will  utilize flood waters for crop production.  Crops expected to be planted include Sorghum,Cowpeas and PH1 maize that are drought resistant.

Director Lokone said the department is opening more land for increased crop production as an effort to achieve County Government’s agenda on food security.

Other areas where land preparation is being done include Lokamarinyang(Kibish),Loyaal(Turkana West),Kaekuto(Loima) and Nakukulas in Turkana East Sub-County.  More than 1400 acres of land that would  utilize the flood based farming technique is being tilled.

Director Lokone directed agriculture officers to help farmers with modern skills and knowledge on crop production.

Thousands of livestock vaccinated in Turkana East Sub-County

County Directorate of Veterinary has so far treated more than 27,000 goats and sheep against Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) locally known as *Lomoo* in a two week long exercise that started last week.

At Kamuge and Ngilukia Vilages in Turkana East Sub-County, the County Veterinary officers vaccinated 3904 sheep and goats against PPR with another batch of livestock totalling 1562 receiving vaccination on Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia .

County Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Benson Longor has said that the exercise targets to prevent spread of diseases as well as increase livestock production in the County through regular treatment and monitoring.

Additionally, Dr. Longor has said that the mass treatment, deworming and vaccination exercise that is being conducted in all sub-counties is expected to cover more than 500,000 livestock.

He noted mobilization of pastoralists in for Kibish Sub-County has been completed with mass treatment starting at Ekicheles tommorow. More than 150 cattles have been treated at Meyan, Maisa and Napeikar in Turkana North Sub-County.

In Turkana South, more than 3000 goats sheep have been vaccinated against PPR with the Veterinary officers attached to the Sub-County ferrying Mobile Crushes to Juluk and Akou Ekile villages to enable treatment of kraals that are situated in the riverine areas.

61 households at Nanam in Turkana West have benefited from the exercise that has seen vaccination of more than 10,000 goats.

PARTNERING WITH SWEDISH SCHOOLS OF ART TO PRESERVE TURKANA CULTURE

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro said Turkana County Government is in the forefront in the promotion and preservation of culture when the Swedish School of Arts delegation paid him a courtesy call at the County Headquarters.

“We want our young people to understand where they came from and to know their culture or they will be lost,” he said.

He further added that those who discard their culture become slaves to other cultures. Thus, he welcomed the delegation to explore and learn about the Turkana culture as they look for areas of collaboration on this important aspect of socio-economic development.

“We will be looking on areas like capacity building, technical support and marketing,” said CEC of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources – Charles Lokioto, “as well as resource mobilisation opportunities.”

The Swedish institution is working to partnership with county on cultural promotion and preservation of both the host community and refugees in Kakuma and Kalobeyei.

The Chief Officer of Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources – Rosemary Nchinyei, said there was need to have fully fledged cultural facilities where the youth can rehearse, record and train on matters to do with culture and arts. She said the county through such partnership is looking at institutionalizing the Ekalees Centre to become self sustaining and that which brings all art and culture activities under one roof for both showcasing and preservation.

The Swedish Delegation, accompanied by the Chief Officer, also had sessions with the youth in Kakuma refugee camp engaged in arts and culture. The youth shared their experiences, challenges and opportunities.

“We would like to support the county government in the development of culture through preservation and encouraging the youth explore new ways of cultural development,” said Måns Fellesson.

He led the two representatives from the schools; Camila Freedman and Åsa Lundmark.

On citing the annual Tobong’u Lore cultural festival, the County Secretary –  Peter Eripete said the county government used culture to promote peace and regional development with neighbouring countries – as they share similar traditions and customs.

The deputy governor echoed the same and added that the event had minimised resource-base conflicts.

The Department of Culture organised cultural performances to showcase the rich Turkana cultural heritage.

Also present were Hon. Daniel Emekwi – Chair of the County Assembly Committee of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources and MCA Katilia Ward, Hon. Alice Nakawa – Nominated MCA and Vice-chair of the above committee, Hon. Bethwel Kobongin – Leader of Majority and MCA Songot, Hon. Joseph Epuu – MCA Letea.

COMMUNITY CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON BBI KICKS OFF AT EKAALES

Governor Nanok has arrived at Ekaales Centre to join other elected and opinion leaders from different parts of Turkana for discussion over the Building Bridges Initiative’s report.

Cabinet Secretary for Petroleum and Energy John Munyes; Legislators Ali Lokiru (Turkana East), James Lomenen (Turkana South), Jeremiah Lomurkai (Loima), Christopher Nakuleu (Turkana North), Women Representative Joyce Emanikor and Senator Malik Ekal have also arrived.

County Assembly Speaker Erastus Lokaale is leading a delegation of MCAs.

Senior County Government officials present include Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei; County Executives Emathe Namuar (Water, Environment and Mineral Resources), Jane Ajele (Health and Sanitation), Charles Lokiyoto (Tourism and Natural Resources), Esther Lokwei (Public Service and Disaster Management) and Chris Aletia (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries).

Professionals, members of the clergy and members of the public drawn from across the 30 wards of Turkana are also present.

The meeting will come up with recommendations from Turkana in form of a memorandum, which will be presented to the BBI taskforce led by Yusuf Haji in the March 21 BBI rally in Nakuru.
By Governor’s Press Service

COMMUNITY ENGAGED ON THE OUTCOMES OF SONGOT RANGES AND LOTIKIPI GAME RESERVE GAZETTEMENT

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources in partnership with with Mercy Corps, held a community public participation on gazettement of Songot Ranges and Lotikipi Game Reserve, in Turkana West Sub-county.

While giving his opening remarks, CEC Charles Lokioto said that the county government would like to gazette the two areas for protection and conservation.
“Our forefathers had their own systems of conservation and had established boundaries to this effect,” he said, “the county government would like to continue in this tradition and assist the community reinforce these important natural resources.”
He further added that the gazettement would ensure that there is grazing pasture during droughts and enhancing livelihoods through nature-based activities like bee-keeping and eco-tourism.

He was accompanied by Chief Officers Rosemary Nchinyei (Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources) and Pauline Lokuruka (Education, Sports and Social Protection).

The over 50 participants, from the community drawn from different kraals, National Government administration officials and representatives of the area Member of Parliament and Member of County Assembly (MCA), met in Lokichoggio to deliberate on the way forward in gazetting these important resources.

MCAs Cosmas Longor (Nanam) and Bethwel Kobong’in (Songot and Majority Leader) called for the gazettement to be expedited as it would provide the community with employment opportunities.

They also raised concerns about wildlife poaching in the area and called upon the concerned authorities to investigate and prosecute the offenders.

The community appealed for a benchmarking exercise so they can learn from other successful community conservations and also more public barazas to educate the kraals near the ranges.

Other government institutions involved in this exercise were Kenya Wildlife Service represented by the Warden and Kenya Forest Service.

ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN KEY IN CREATING AWARENESS ON SAFETY OF ROAD USERS- DOCTOR AMEYO

The upcoming Road Safety Campaign by Turkana County Government Department of Transport will play a big role in sensitizing county road users to observe road safety as a way to minimize accidents in the county. Deputy Director at Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH) Dr. Bonventure Ameyo has said.

The County Department of Transport has organized for a four days Road Safety Campaign scheduled for February 4th, 5th ,6th and 7th in Lodwar, Kakuma, Lokichogio, and Lokichar respectively. This campaign is themed, ‘Road safety, my responsibility’ and is aimed at sensitizing all road users to ensure safety of others since road safety begins with self.

Devolution government in Kenya has given birth to much development in the roads sector in the county. There has been much improvement on the county major highway by the National Government through Kenya Highways Authority (KenHA). The county government has opened and improved several county roads. The county roads have been graded and graveled, while drifts have been constructed at different sections where seasonal rivers transverse the roads. In Turkana East, a bridge was constructed to connect people of Kapelbok and Nawoyeregae. All these developments have given rise to an increase of movement on the roads and thus great risks to accidents.

The planned road safety campaign will therefore play a big role in sensitizing the road users to observe safety while on the roads to prevent accidents from occurring.