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Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua Speech During Launch of Machakos County Ambulances & Community Hospitals

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70 Ambulances lined up at Machakos Stadium 70 Ambulances lined up at Machakos Stadium

In Machakos County there are many children called Nzia, meaning road, because they were born by the side of a road. Others are called Nzyoka, which means "He has returned" because they were born after the death of the one they followed. Giving birth in Kenya and continent, Africa, is a precarious affair. Many children are born at home, on the road or in bushes. Mortality rates are high because mothers are not able to get to a health center on time and especially if an operation is required.

Access to healthcare is a fundamental right that has eluded many of us. One of the principles of devolution is to provide better and accessible healthcare to all Kenyans.

To this end, we have decided to ensure that all citizens and visitors in Machakos have access to emergency care and treatment.

The United Nations’ World Health Organization recommends that there be a community hospital within every 5 kilometers of every person. This is a target that we hope to achieve in the near future.

Getting to hospital for emergency treatment is essential to save lives. That is why while I was campaigning, I promised that our mothers will no longer be ferried on wheelbarrows and donkeys to go and give birth.

Today, I am pleased to fulfill that promise. We are unveiling a Health Care program of Kshs. 1 billion.

In this program, we have purchased 80 ambulances. Seventy are ambulance vans and 10 are motorcycle rapid response ambulances. All the ambulances are fully equipped and ready. Each of the 69 locations in Machakos County will have an ambulance available 24 hours for emergency care. The Motorcycle ambulances will be distributed to towns and congested areas and also in places where the terrain is such that a motorcycle can use a shortcut to get to a patient quickly for life saving first aid as they await the van ambulance to arrive.

The brand new ambulances have cost Kshs. ,...... million which is less than the Kshs. 140 million that was budgeted for in our estimates. Call centers are also ready so that there is speedy response. Each of the ambulances has two trained paramedics who are conversant with the area of operation. Each of the ambulances will have fuel and location trackers and a communication radio for dispatch. In an emergency, anywhere in Machakos County, dial 999 for a police vehicle or ambulance, 24 hours a day.

In the whole of Kenya, we have about 200 ambulances. We have just added 70 to that number. The expenses for their fuel and maintenance has also been budgeted, factored and assured.

Because you cannot have an ambulance taking a patient to a clinic which is not able to cater to the patient's needs, we have started construction of 40 community hospitals by upgrading existing health centers and building new hospitals where there are no existing services. We are spending 500 million Kshs for this venture and each of the community hospitals - one per ward - will have a maternity, ward, mini-theatre, lab and x-ray facilities. These hospitals will be fully constructed by end of June, this year, and fully equipped and functioning by end of August, this year. Equipping them to international standards will cost an additional Kshs. 150 million.

We have also budgeted and set systems for the proper functioning of our health centers. All our hospitals and clinics have adequate medicines and consumables such as gloves and needles.

In Machakos County we have ensured that no patient ever shares a bed with another patient or sleeps on the floor.

To retain and attract medical personnel, we are constructing housing at a cost of Kshs. 150 million, and ensuring there are overtime allowances for medical personnel, as earlier promised.

I give notice to all health care workers and administrators that with this investment, service provision should be excellent. All medical centers should be spotless clean and at all times looking new and organized. A hospital should be the epitome of hygiene. Therefore, if a health center is dirty and toilets are dirty and stinky, then the one in charge of the hospital has to go home immediately for endangering the lives of patients. We are going to conduct an audit within a month and start weeding out people not able to adjust to the international standards we are setting in Machakos for the benefit of our people.

In conclusion, I wish to say that we are able to achieve all our development projects because we planned ahead even before we prepared our budget, so as to capture our manifesto promises. We are also adhering to strict procurement guidelines and transparency. We have set reserve prices so we get goods and services at market prices and even at the case of these new ambulances managed to get them below the market prices.

All the money we have is for the people and not for corrupt elements and we make sure every shilling gives us value. Some people have wondered, does Machakos have more money than other Counties. We are doing this because we are spending all money for the people and not for corrupt networks.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to inform you all that my Government is fully seized with the failure of the rains and the food security problem. To this end, we have reallocated Kshs. 250 million in our supplementary budget for food relief, especially targeted to school feeding program.

Finally, ladies and gentlemen,

We no longer need to hear of children in Machakos given the names of roads and bushes because after today, their mothers can be quickly taken to hospital. At the most, we should be hearing of children called "Ambyulanzi".

Thank you and God bless you.

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