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One-stop health shop for Kenyan pastoralists

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By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI
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Under the scorching morning sun of northern Kenya, women and their children wait patiently under a tree for their turn with the outreach team.

Around them are water containers and goats. Close by are the men whose livestock is being attended to by veterinary officers working alongside the health officers.

This is Natole village in Kibish region of Turkana County at the border confluence of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. It lies within the Elemi triangle, a historically disputed land among the communities from these three countries.

People here are pastoralists, who are always on the move, seeking not only for pasture and water for their livestock, but also to elude cattle rustlers.

Without roads, access to the community is a challenge. Only heavy duty vehicles can traverse this hot, dusty region and during the rainy season, movement becomes hampered by floods.

Healthcare in this region remains a challenge not only due to widespread environmental degradation, food insecurity and malnutrition but also because a large percentage of these populations is not insured.

They have to trek long distances to reach health facilities that are either understaffed or have no qualified medical staff.

Llipsini Ekuwam, 28, is at the health outreach organised by Afya Timiza in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Turkana County.

Known as Kimormor (a Turkana word meaning “all together”), this is an innovative is funded by USAID to connect nomadic communities with basic health services.

Llipsin arrived at the centre at 9am with her two-year-old son just before the health officers got started.

“I walked for about three hours to get here,” she said.

The mother of three says she has never delivered at a formal health facility and never attended an antenatal clinic.

Her children have never been immunised or been to a hospital for medical check-ups.

Seeing how her children are spaced, one would think that this is a result of family planning. But that would be untrue considering Llipsini has suffered three miscarriages.

“Every two years, I conceive and at some stage I get a miscarriage but then the next pregnancy makes it to term. I think this is OK because the miscarriages clean up my womb and prepare it for the next baby. That is why the pregnancy that follows is always a success,” said Llipsini, adding that all her children are healthy and have no complications so she sees no need to worry.

She has never used any family planning device or method and believes that how a woman gives birth is up to God, something that cannot be controlled.

“All you are supposed to do is wait until God gives you another baby,” Llipsini added.

Even the idea of taking her children to a clinic is news to her. “I have never heard of it nor have I seen other women doing that,” she said.

Llipsin’s son is among other children who were dewormed, weighed and their height taken to ascertain their health status and whether they are malnourished. Her baby’s weight and height are fine for his age.

“I came here because the health volunteers talked to my husband about it and he asked me to come with this baby. The other two children are at home taking care of the goats,” said Llipsin.

“If family planning is as good as the community health volunteers say then continue talking to us about it and we will change. We have started bringing our children for check-ups and are now aware of the importance of attending antenatal clinics and making safe deliveries at the health facility.

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Eventually, when we experience the benefits of family planning and our husbands agree to it then we will take it up too,” Llipsin adds.

After discussing the topic with the health workers at the outreach centre, she promises that the next time she is at Kimormor outreach she will consider trying out the family planning services.

The campaign is done quarterly as a follow up to the monthly facility-based outreaches that offer human healthcare services only.

The various service departments meet at the county headquarters in Lodwar where department heads of the targeted services are located.

To initiate the outreach, the Afya Timiza team delegates community health assistants, community health volunteers and the area chiefs encourage the Emuron and Kraal leaders to mobilise their communities along every mapped migratory route.

Water points a provide a strategic location for setting up the outreach. As the community’s stop to water their animals and replenish their water supply they also receive the services.

“We get the information on the migratory routes to follow from the Ministry of Water office. This saves time spent on trying to reach the people,” said Gilbert Wangalwa, chief of party of Afya Timiza.

At the service delivery point, each department is tasked with its core mandate.

For example, the Ministry of Health provides human health services including antenatal care, postnatal care, immunisation, screening for malnutrition and providing the nutritional supplements as well as HIV/Aids testing and counselling.

The Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Pastoral Economy deworms and treats animals and also sensitises communities on the importance of growing locally available foods.

At the outreach centre, men accompany their families as they bring along their livestock for veterinary services.

“Most of the time we use the men to pass along the message and so as they come for the veterinary services, they come along with their families,” he said adding that the strategy has worked well because in Turkana the men are the overall decision makers.

On this day John Lomulen has brought his animals for deworming and vaccination. Lomulen has three wives. His first wife has accompanied him for family planning services.

Although he is happy that his cows have been vaccinated, he is not sure that it is a good idea for his wives to use contraceptives.

“What if the bandits come and kill our children? I still think we need to have as many children so that if some are killed we have some left,” said the 40-year-old.

He said that if they had better arms to protect themselves from the cattle rustlers, they would take family planning seriously.

Lomulen first heard of the Kimormor outreach from Faustino Muya, a community health officer, who was going around educating people about health.

Mr Muya and his colleagues use digital devices known as Digisomo to sensitise the community.

The Digisomo is a simple battery-operated computer audio device that is not dependent on the Internet or electricity.

It is loaded with standardised messages translated into the Turkana and Samburu languages on the five thematic areas of family planning, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health as well as nutrition and WASH (an acronym that stands for “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene”).

Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WASH is a key public health issue within international development and is the focus of Sustainable Development Goal 6.

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General

Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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