Governors blamed for disease outbreaks in counties

A lapse by county authorities to deal with solid waste management is to blame for the disease outbreaks that have hit the country, the ministry of health has said.

Speaking after meeting Council of Governors officials at his Afya House office, Director of Public Health Kepha Ombacho said that there was low implementation of policies including those enacted by county government that has posed a risk to public health.

The ministry now wants all county governments to take charge and address the poor state of both solid and liquid waste disposal and take measures that will restore the cleanliness and aesthetic value of towns and cities.

“The ministry urges counties to appropriately provide land and standard infrastructure to safely treat and dispose off wastes since this is their responsibility as provided for under the devolved Health, Lands and Environment functions,” Mr Ombacho said.

While the ministry is constitutionally directed to give policy direction and training on waste management, it is not its mandate to allocate land for garbage disposal.

Ombacho maintained that waste management was a devolved function and hence a mandate of the county governments.

According to the ministry, 15,681 cases of cholera and 250 deaths had been reported across 30 counties as of May 30 this year.

Many counties have been relying on the government to provide services but the Health ministry says waste management is a devolved function.

While the ministry is constitutionally directed to give policy direction and training on waste management, it is not its mandate to allocate land for garbage disposal.

On September, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) launched a national solid waste management strategy in Nakuru County. The initiative followed complaints from residents in the various Nakuru sub-counties over poor waste management.

During the launch, NEMA Director General, Geoffrey Wakhungu, said the initiative would solve the issues facing solid waste disposal in areas such as Subukia, Naivasha, Njoro and Nakuru Central area.

According to him, with just 100 days of implementation of the project in various counties, the impact would be felt.

 

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