Mandera Governor Ali Roba wants the national government to release money allocated to counties to fight Covid-19.
Addressing a press conference outside his office in Mandera town, Governor Roba regretted that the Ministry of Health and the National Treasury were yet to disburse Sh1.5 billion allocated to Coast General Hospital, Jaramogi Referral, Kitui Referral and Mandera to fight coronavirus diseases.
The money was allocated through a supplementary budget.
His administration, Mr Roba added was also yet to receive part of Sh850 million given to Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa and Mandera counties to cushion locals from effects of Covid-19 through livelihoods support programmes.
Mr Roba said the funds were needed to assist counties to prepare for the peak season of the disease predicted by Ministry of Health to be August and September.
He said the pandemic was a burden to counties which were first to report first index cases of the virus.
The governor was, however, contend that measures put in place to fight the disease by his administration were bearing fruit as 17 patients out of 18 who had tested positive had been discharged after turning negative.
The remaining patient had also tested negative but is awaiting a second validation test before being discharged.
In total, 729 people have been tested of the disease, 97,502 screened at various entry and exit points in the county and 334 quarantined.
Some 176 people who were quarantined were contacts of the cases while 158 were travellers from outside the county.
He attributed the county’s success in fighting the pandemic to preparedness, mobilisation of resources, planning and rapid interventions.
Saying it was not yet time to celebrate following lack of reported remaining Covid-19 case in Mandera, Mr. Roba noted “we must maintain measures to curb the disease and not relax.”
Locals, he said, should wash hands regularly, wear masks in public places and maintain social distancing as there were still risks of the disease finding it’s way to the county through travellers and porous border with Somalia and Ethiopia.
He also urged locals not to fear being tested for Covid-19, adding that patients should not be stigmatized.
“It is not yet time to celebrate. Covid-19 is here with us,” Mr Roba said.
The county boss took issue with the long period taken to receive results of samples saying, for instance, the results of tests taken to Nairobi on June 19 were yet to be received five days later.
The county which lies some 1,200 kilometers from Nairobi relies on “costly” flying of the samples to the city for testing as it could transport them by road to the neighbouring Wajir County due to threats of al-Shabaab attacks.
Mr. Roba vouched for the establishment of a testing center in Mandera County which borders Somalia and Ethiopia that have also been hit by the disease with deaths reported in Bullahawa.
In the past, cases of disease outbreaks in Somalia and Ethiopia have also spilt to Mandera town that lies on a triangle International border.
Mr Roba said the county was progressing well on its efforts to have 300 hospital beds to fight Covid-19, saying the border devolved unit already has 190 beds and will soon procure the remaining 110.
Two facilities- the Kamor Infectious Disease Centre and Mandera Rehabilitation Centre have been set aside to handle Covid-19 cases.