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Fire destroys dorm at Karima Girls School

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A fire destroyed a dormitory at Karima Girls High School in North Kinangop, Nyandarua, on Sunday.

Some 200 students, who were in class for evening classes, lost their personal belongings.

North Kinangop chief Peter Kanyara said no one was injured.

Nothing was salvaged. Students lost their beds, mattresses and clothes.

The surrounding community helped to put out the fire after students started screaming when they saw the flames.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

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Report on Kemsa calls for thorough shake-up

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By EDITORIAL
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The latest audit report on the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency is alarming. Its drug management system and financial expenditure are horrible.

In the financial year ending June 2017, Kemsa kept in its stores expired medicines worth Sh100 million. It also had more than Sh350 million in unspent cash meant for drugs.

Here are two sets of paradoxes. First, the agency that is responsible for procuring and distributing drugs has no shame keeping expired medicines, the danger notwithstanding. It also knows all too well the perennial drug shortage in the public health facilities.

How, then, could it keep such a consignment in its stores when it should have distributed the drugs to the facilities on time? Where will it take the consignment? And at what cost? This is a complete waste of public resources.

The second paradox is that although it understands that health facilities require drugs, Kemsa does not spend the cash allocated for medicines. How does it organise its work plan? What is the plan for procurements?

This is not the first time we have had such appalling reports on the agency. Not long ago, it had to burn a huge consignment of expired drugs that had been withdrawn from counties and which had cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

Something is awfully wrong at Kemsa and the Ministry of Health and the various oversight agencies ought to take a special interest in the goings-on at the agency.

Access to affordable healthcare is predicated on proper planning and coordination. It starts with disease prevention, well-equipped clinics with qualified medical professionals, proper diagnosis of diseases, accurate prescriptions and availability of medicines. Any gap along the chain could be catastrophic.

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We are cognisant of the variables at play. Among these is the inability of counties to buy and pay for drugs from Kemsa due to their perennial financial difficulties.

At one point, the agency even stopped supplying drugs to the counties because they had defaulted in payment for supplies.

But in this day and age, when firms operate modern procurement practices — where just-on-time supply is the norm — why can’t Kemsa organise itself properly to do exactly that to avoid holding unnecessary stocks?

The reason Kemsa was set up was to consolidate the procurement of medical supplies and enable the government to benefit from economies of scale and as well as streamline stock distribution. The principle is valid, but its implementation is proving cumbersome, hence calling to question its continued viability.

This is a sensitive process that must be executed judiciously. Kemsa should review and streamline its processes henceforth.

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Why capital city needs leaders with more substance than style

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By KALTUM GUYO
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In the latest United Nations survey on human development, Kenya ranks 142nd out of 189. In another report on the liveable cities; Nairobi, sadly, does not feature.

If you wonder why, I can tell you it is all in the pepper spray. If it is any consolation, the UN report indicates that Kenya is up one position from the last time on the ‘Human Development Index’.

According to the UN, the “perception of individual well-being” is based on polling responses on “quality of education, healthcare and living standards, along with a sense of personal safety and freedom of choice”.

We all have our views on the living standards of Nairobians — depending on where you stand on the political divide.

However, I do not hold my breath that things will improve for Nairobi any time soon, given the level of poor governance exhibited time and again.

I have written in these pages on how we find it easier to turn to anger and violence to solve even the slightest of misunderstandings.

The type of fist-fights and kicks and punches we saw during the impeachment of the Speaker of the Nairobi County Assembly is stuff for a nursery school playground.

Even then, pupils had to be admonished in order to learn to grow up and behave with decorum.

GLARING CHALLENGES
Nairobi has many glaring challenges that should be the priority for any county government in charge. Top on the list should be the security of the residents. Not a day passes without reading or hearing of violent robberies in the city and its environs.

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But insecurity is not something new in Nairobi. At one time it got so bad that the city was nicknamed ‘Nairobbery”. It is not a flattering name to have but we still are reminded of it wherever we go.

I am not hopeful that insecurity can be tackled in Nairobi when its governance team places priorities over who has the right to travel first class over service delivery.

It seems that it is hell-bent on redefining corruption by introducing an illness that can only be cured by flying first class.

What is the point of travelling then, if one’s illness is so debilitating?

MIRACLES HAPPEN
I am still struggling to understand the plague whose cure is a first-class ticket around the world. As miracles happen, it only seems to afflict the rich and powerful. If there is any justice in the world, we should all catch it.
We now live in a world that is interconnected through information technology. A lot of the benchmarking mania, even to Mombasa, can be reduced by relying on the Internet to solve many alleged ills befalling the city or, indeed, the country.

Ours is a city that lacks compassion and honesty. Compassion that would enable the city county team to learn to walk in the shoes of its residents so that they can understand where there are pressing needs and prioritise them.

One way of doing that is to ensure participation of the public is sought and their ideas implemented. Who would be better placed to give an honest opinion of a neighbourhood than the resident?

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BETTER START
Honesty is discerned through the leadership that provides the services it promised voters; services that even the state official would be proud to use. Having schools and hospitals fit for all would be a better start.

I have never witnessed a greater sense of insensitivity and irony than when Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko goes around public hospitals in the city berating the workers for poor services and corruption, and then turns around and visits one of his county executives in the private Nairobi Hospital.

Why the senior county official was not at Mbagathi Hospital was the question on my mind. Why preach water but drink wine? If Mbagathi is not fit for the county minister, how is it for the rest of us?

Insecurity thrives in an environment with limited opportunities for residents — be it employment, housing, roads, transport, quality schools and hospitals.

The cities that came on top of the liveable cities had scored very highly on provision of key services to the residents.

Insecurity in Nairobi is so bad that even the transport system has become a harbinger of it. Being attacked in a matatu on your way from work has become the norm and it should not be. This demonstrates that one poor service has a knock-on effect on all others.

Leading a city is not to be valued by the number of flashy cars in your entourage, your shiny suit or first-class ticket to nowhere but the quality of your services. Leading through style is recipe for failure and undermines the efforts of hard-working voters.

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If the current “governance by chaos” continues in the city county, it might be worth considering an alternative in a non-political permanent ‘City Management Team’.

Nairobi needs it to prosper. The city county’s politics is neck-deep in pursuit of individual interests and it can’t help it to excel to the list of liveable cities any time soon. It is time for leadership with substance.

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Murang’a woman commits suicide after daughter’s death :: Kenya

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A woman has committed suicide two days after the burial of her daughter.

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The body of Leah Wangui Mugo, 36, was found hanging from the roof of her bedroom on Thursday night, two days after her daughter Sarah Nungari was buried in Kanjama village, Mathioya sub-county.

The Form Two student at Kiria-ini Mixed Secondary School had hanged herself on September 11, after she quarreled with her mother over money she demanded to pay for an educational trip.

Mary Wanjau, a local, said Nungari committed suicide after she was slapped by her mother, who accused her of being rude.

“After she was slapped, she moved away. Her body was later discovered hanging from the roof of her room,” Ms Wanjau said. Villagers said the girl was reserved. “She rarely interacted with other people,” a neighbour said.

Kiria-ini Chief Francis Mwangi said Francis Mugo, Wangui’s husband, had informed him that his wife suffered depression after the death of their daughter. He wanted the chief to give him advice on how to handle the problem. 

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But the administrator said Mugo did not visit him on Thursday as had been agreed.

“On the material day, I passed near their farm and saw the couple being helped by friends to pluck green tea leaves,” the chief said.

Mr Mugo had approached several other people  for advice to help his wife out of the depression. 

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