A forum dubbed the County Governments Covid-19 Virtual Conference will be held today. Besides the governors, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto will take part.
The conference comes as the country continues to take stock of the devastation wrought by pandemic and the responses so far.
No doubt, there are those who think that without concerted efforts and coordinated responses, things would have been worse. And there are those as well who feel that government (national and county) has not done enough to reverse coronavirus’ lethal march.
Everything, including responses to such a life-altering pandemic, is local and so the conference couldn’t have come at a better time. Indeed, there are certain inescapable realities and challenges that Covid-19 has thrown our way.
Covid-19 is not just a health problem, it is a political, social and economic problem. The disease is causing untold trauma as it kills families and age-old bonds; takes away jobs and opportunities and kills businesses. Because of it, patients are avoiding critical healthcare and schools will remain closed for some time.
Commendably, a lot has been done at the county level to sensitise the public about the coronavirus. But preparedness and success in combating the pandemic in the counties has been a mixed bag.
Notably, the disease has put a strain on the already rickety healthcare system because of the bureaucratic bottlenecks. For example, though health is devolved, a lot of the decision-making and funds still remain with the national government. Secondly, ill-equipped and disgruntled health personnel are not a sure way to fight this aggressive virus. It is atrocious that healthcare personnel are contemplating a go-slow while others have boycotted work at this time. But such is the case because years of neglect and broken promises have driven them up the wall.
Lack of finances, to a large extent contributed by Senate’s indecision on the formula for sharing the county funds and, in some counties, corruption which has seen billions of shillings go down the drain, has hampered the war against Covid-19.
But whatever the reason bogging down this battle, every effort must be made to ensure that no county is left behind. Today’s forum should come up with concrete proposals on how the race to stop coronavirus can go full tilt in every county.
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