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KRA demands Sh8 million in tax to release Sh92million Kakamega County oxygen plant

By Andrew Ombuni

Kakamega

The National Government is frustrating efforts by the county governments in the fight against Covid19.

“Most public hospitals have been overwhelmed by the increasing number of desperate Covid-19 patients seeking treatment as the number of deaths continue to rise,” said Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

Besides the late disbursement of county sharable revenue by the National Treasury, the national government through the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is holding onto an oxygen plant that was imported by Kakamega County.

KRA has slapped the county government with Sh8million tax in order to release its oxygen plant that is currently at the port of Mombasa.

The oxygen plant that produces 1000 litres per minute was procured at Sh92 million.

“The hospital has been admitting patients from the neighboring Counties in critical conditions who can only survive on a high oxygen flow machine. This has led to high oxygen intake thereby outstripping the supply by the plant. We are urging the national treasury to intervene and have KRA release the oxygen plant,” said Oparanya.

“Most public hospitals have been overwhelmed by the increasing number of desperate Covid-19 patients seeking treatment as the number of deaths continue to rise,” said Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

Oparanya said due to the high positivity rate of infections in the 13 counties of the Lake Region Economic Bloc, the county has been bearing the burden of providing medical care from Covid-19 patients from neighboring Counties.

Kakamega County General Hospital (KCGH) is currently facing serious shortage of oxygen. The current oxygen plant, which is the main supplier of oxygen to the facility, has been outstripped by the demand and yet KRA is holding onto our oxygen plant at the port of Mombasa over Sh8million tax.

“The hospital has been admitting patients from the neighboring Counties in critical conditions who can only survive on a high oxygen flow machine. This has led to high oxygen intake thereby outstripping the supply by the plant. We are urging the national treasury to intervene and have KRA release the oxygen plant,” said Oparanya.

Oparanya said the Kakamega County General Hospital could no longer admit critical Covid-19 patients demanding high oxygen flow due to the acute shortage of the commodity.

“On 14th June, 2021, Kakamega County received 2,016 test kits from KEMSA whose expiry date was 3rd July, 2021 (valid for two weeks). The health facilities were only able to utilize 1,104 of the kits," said Oparanya

He said normal oxygen services to other patients (not Covid-19) have been affected due to the shortage of oxygen at KCGH and other public hospitals.

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa (left), Mutahi Kagwe (health) and Governor Wycliffe Oparanya at the new Kakamega County Teaching and Referral hospital

According to Oparanya, the county has continued to experience challenges in testing people for Covid-19 due to the shortage of testing kits and reagents.

“On 14th June, 2021, Kakamega County received 2,016 test kits from KEMSA whose expiry date was 3rd July, 2021 (valid for two weeks). The health facilities were only able to utilize 1,104 of the kits,” said Oparanya

A new supply of antigen reagents to conduct up to 4000 tests is expected any time this week from KEMSA,” said Oparanya.

The County is able to test using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) at KCGH for emergencies for up to 48 patients per day.

Additionally, St. Mary’s Mission Hospital – Mumias is able to offer PCR at a subsidized cost.

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya

There are also ten (10) Sub County, two (2) Faith Based and two (2) GK Prison facility labs that are able to offer Antigen (Rapid) tests.

“The County received a total of 38,300 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, 30,500 doses for vaccination in the first round and 7,800 for the second dose,” said Oparanya.

So far, the Department of Health has vaccinated 36,499 people in both first and second doses.

I take this opportunity to therefore encourage our people to go for Covid-19 vaccination as this has been proved one of the successful campaigns in the fight against the infections.

The County has recorded 20 Covid-19 patients admitted at KCGH and Mumias Level 4 Hospital. Two patients are in ICU at KCGH, one on oxygen and another one on ventilator. Other seven patients are on oxygen support in Covid-19 general wards.

Ends

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