FIXING NAIROBI: City under the sun regaining its lost glory

When he was sworn in as the Governor of Nairobi back in August 2017, not so many people had slightest of believe in Mike Mbuvi Sonko transforming the City.

His predecessor, Dr Evans Kidero had by no doubt proved to be a big let down to the thousands of voters who had faith in him- owing to his cooperate world experience and outstanding education background.

Two years now since the flamboyant Sonko took over, there is growing hope that the City under the sun will be great again. The beautification program, the ongoing road projects, reforms in the health sector and the massive investment in sports has curved him as a man who needs time to fix the city.

We look at how Nairobi’s second Governor has fared in various sectors since he took over office.

HEALTH

More patients are seeking help from city hospitals since the county government intensified efforts to upgrade facilities and improve services.

Over the past two years, hospitals have recorded an influx of patients. Governor Mike Sonko’s administration had put in place measures to turn the sector around. It prioritised the top four hospitals — Pumwani, Mama Lucy, Mbagathi and Mutuini.

Health executive Mohamend Dagane observes that  the latest figures released by the Health department have shown a significant increase in patients visiting Pumwani Maternity, Mama Lucy and Mbagathi hospitals.

“In Pumwani Maternity Hospital alone, … the number of deliveries has nearly doubled  — from 11,169 to 19,267 per year — an increment of 42 per cent . The facility was the first to be upgraded under Sonko’s administration,” he said.

“At Mbagathi Hospital, the number of patients recorded in the outpatient department has risen from 98,471 in June 2017 to 113,916, an increment of 14 per cent. We have a projection of 200,000 patients by the end of the year.”

At Mama Lucy Hospital, the number of patients has increased to 314,000 from 214,150 in 2017, marking a 32 per cent rise. Governor Sonko made an impromptu visit at Mama Lucy Hospital on Wednesday and directed that no patient be turned away despite the influx.

He said the influx was an indication the county is at the forefront in promoting quality health services in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda on which healthcare is a key pillar. Others are manufacturing, affordable housing and food security.

Dagane said a similar inflow of patients has been recorded in Level 2 and 3 facilities.“We’ve witnessed the same in Kayole I, Kayole II, Lunga Lunga health centre, Eastleigh health centre and Westlands health centre, among others.”

After giving more emphasis to the upgrading of Pumwani Maternity Hopsital,the county government is set for a major facelift after the nairobi city county allocated sh150 million shillings for an upgrade of the hospital in this financial year.

The facelift will include construction of a new Intensive Care Unit, Outpatient Department, a new Inpatient Ward, a new laboratory among others.

The new upgrade of the Mbagathi District Hospital will also include renovation of the hospital’s old maternity wing which was temporarily shut down last year due to poor workmanship.

“We are set for a major facelift of the Mbagathi District Hospital in the 2019/20 financial year. We have so far allocated Sh150 million towards the project which is aimed at making the Mbagathi Hospital a Level Five Hospital,” Dagane said.

Dagane has promised that the Nairobi City County Government is committed in upgrading Mbagathi Hospital, Pumwani Maternity Hospital and Mama Lucy Hospital into Level Five Hospitals. The County Government is also planning to refurbish all the 102 health facilities across the county, starting with Level Three and Level Four hospitals.

The new upgrade of Mbagathi will expand the hospital’s bed capacity to 120 with the construction of a new wing that will have a 60-bed capacity in addition to the old wing which also has a bed capacity of 60 beds.

“Issues of congestion at the Mbagathi Hospital will be a thing of the past once we complete the renovations of the old maternity wing which was temporarily shut down for repairs. The new modern wing which will also comprise of an outpatient wing will be complete in the next few months,” he stated.

The Mbagathi Hospital has of late been experienced an influx of patients both inpatient and outpatient for the last one year and Dagane has attributed this to the improved health care service at the facility.

“We are currently witnessing an influx of patients at Mbagathi, Mama Lucy and Pumwani Hospitals due to improved services in our county hospitals. I want to thank Governor Sonko for making sure that we have uninterrupted healthcare services which includes constant supply of drugs in our county facilities. In the last two weeks we have been distributing drugs in our health centers and the exercise will continue until our centers are fully stocked with drugs,” said the Nairobi Health boss.

At the same time city hall is set to recruit health workers in the County to improve service delivery in the health sector. This is after formation of the new Nairobi City County Public Service Board.

“The recruitment of the health workers was put on hold due to lack of the County Public Service Board. But we are now set to start the recruitment that will comprise of doctors, nurses, clinical officers, laboratory technicians among others,” he said.

Still on health, more children in Nairobi have been vaccinated against polio this year compared to last year.

The increase, which has seen a record being set, has been attributed to massive community mobilization and awareness campaigns.

The county had targeted to vaccinate 883,822 children below five years but that number has so far been surpassed and it stood at 978,118 by Friday evening.

Last year, the county targeted 800,000 children but managed to vaccinate 600,000 only.

Stakeholders in the sector had predicted the possibility of hitting the one million mark.The record numbers gives an assurance that cases of polio on children below five years will not surface.

Health executive Mohamed Dagane said health officers mostly targeted informal settlements, where there is dense population and high number of children.

“We had massive awareness campaigns targeting the informal settlements,” Dagane said.

Some of the areas that recorded high vaccination numbers include Pipeline, Kibra, Mathare, Huruma, Kasarani, Mukuru kwa Reuben, Kariobangi and Dandora.

The county involved the over 6,000 Community Health Volunteers in the five-day exercise that kicked off on July 20.

SPORTS

The Governor has continued to show his overwhelming love for sports and what a better way to do it if not investing in sports infrastructure.

The most outstanding is the newly constructed Dandora Stadium in Nairobi’s Embakasi North area which is set for unveiling this month by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has revealed Uhuru has been impressed with the ongoing construction of the stadium. Final touches are being done on the stadium.

Already, football matches by local teams are being planned by the County’s Sports Board to mark the official opening of the facility.

The 12,000-seater stadium boasts of a modern artificial turf, gym, modern stalls and floodlights.

It will serve as a major sports ground for local football.

While welcoming other leaders like Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to grace the occasion, Sonko said that the progress of construction works has been excellent.

“This shows that with more resources we can do better in setting up more sports grounds and recreational facilities in the Capital City,” Sonko said.

Once complete, the FIFA-standard stadium is qualified to host international matches, Kenyan Premier League matches, nationwide league matches and other major football tournaments.

An inaugural football tournament courtesy of the Governor is also expected to be unveiled after the launch.

This, according to the Governor, will not only help in tapping and enhancing talent development, but also help reduce crime in the city.

“We expect the many idle youth in the area to use the facility to develop their sporting skills. Idleness is a dangerous thing for the youth,” said Sonko.

The Sonko administration is also set to upgrade the historic City Stadium as well as construct other modern sports facilities at Jacaranda grounds (Embakasi East), Kihumbuini (Westlands), Kariokor (Starehe) and Woodley grounds in Kibra.

The Governor said he will remain committed to sports development in the county and country at large.

“Despite the early elimination of Harambee Stars at the ongoing AFCON tournament in Egypt, we should not lose focus on the development of sports in the country. As Harambee Stars prepare for the CHAN qualifications, my administration will offer support to the team including availing the Dandora Stadium for training by our team.

Sonko has been supportive of the Harambee Stars, the national Kabadii team, Boxing team, the Kenya Amputee Football team and other sports.

Roads

Last year, the county embarked on a major road upgrade and completion of its road network.

The move came after Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said his administration would hand Sh1.5 billion to the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) to undertake the projects.

He said so far his administration had contributed Sh900 million, while Kura paid a total of Sh1.9 billion to finance the first phase whose main focus is in Nairobi’s Eastlands area and city centre.

While maintaining that his administration will continue to collaborate with government agencies to ensure upgrade of roads is successful, Sonko appealed to the residents who have encroached on the road reserve along the proposed areas to start demolishing their structures to pave way for the construction of the road.

Governor Mike Sonko has spent Sh1.3 billion to repair and build roads, bridges and install streetlights since he took over at City Hall in August 2017, a report has shown.

An internal report by the Transport and Public Works sector on the projects implemented by the sector over the last one year shows that five roads measuring 6.3 km have been built in five sub-counties.

“The roads have been done complete with pavements, pedestrian walkways and drainages,” reads the report.

They are Lumumba Drive in Roysambu, Maji Mzuri Access Road and Bishop Ireri Road in Kasarani, Kahuho Road in Dagoretti South and Muthiora Road in Dagoretti North.

Other drainage and road projects totaling 48.2 km are being carried out in 14 constituencies.

“The works are at various stages and of completion and we expect all to be completed before June 2019,” Transport executive Mohamed Dagane said.

The pathways are Dandora II Estate Roads, Hacco Industries Access Road, Gathuru Road, Sulton Cieko Road, Academy Road, Kayole-DOD link Road, Matopeni Estate Road, Kirichwa Gardens, Lucky Summer Access Road and Memon Access Road.

The reports also says that six bus termini, with a capacity of 505 parking bays have been constructed outside the CBD. They are all in Starehe constituency.

They are Murang’a Road with 65 parking bays, Murang’a Road B with 75 parking slots, Desai Road service lane with 70 parking spaces, Park Road with 160 spaces, Railways Matatu terminus that has 70 parking bays and Ngara Road terminus with 65.

Also constructed according to the report are four bridges connecting various areas within the city.

They are Zimmerman- Githurai bridge, Footbridge in South C, Nyayo High Rise- Kibera bridge and Shanzu Road- Grevillea Groove bridge in Westlands. Five other bridges are being done in Mathare, Kasarani and Embakasi Central.

The county has also installed 839 streetlights using contractors in Embakasi East (296), Starehe (24), Ruaraka (160), Kasarani (100), Embakasi North (156), Dagioretti South (28) and Langata (70).

City Hall’s in-house team has also installed 3761 public lighting poles across the county.

The city county has also partnered with the Ministry of Trasnsport and Infrastructure and the World Bank under the Nairobi Metropolitan Service Imprvement Project in building 833 streetlights, constrcution of two fire stations and three boreholes.

The boreholes in Starehe and Dagoretti South while fire stations are at Waithaka in Dagoretti South and Umoja KCC in Embakasi West.

 

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