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Waiguru seeks development partnership between COG and Bill Gates

by kenya-tribune

County governments have asked for direct partnership with development partners in order to speed up implementation of programs and projects initiated in the counties.

In a round table meeting between the Council of Governors (COG) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) led by its Co- Chair Bill Gates, COG Chair Anne Waiguru said that even though County Governments have made significant strides towards realizing the devolution dream, they require collaborations in many areas.

Some of the avenues of collaboration singled out by COG includes funding of various primary health care initiatives at the county level with a view of cascading key interventions aimed at attainment of Universal Health Coverage in the country.

Governor Waiguru asked for support in advocacy programs on reproductive health to reduce adolescent and teenage pregnancy as well as support the establishment of child day-care homes where young mothers can leave their children as they seek education.

She noted that by taking health service closer to the people through devolution, there have been key achievement in the health sector including the reduction of maternal mortality rate from 364/100,000 live births in 2013 to 355/100,000 live births in 2021. The neonatal mortality has also reduced from 23 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013 to 20 deaths in 2021. She said that scaling up of Service Delivery Redesign program should be done to cover all counties in order to further reduce child mortality rates.

The Governor added that there has also been increased immunization of children from 74% in 2014to 82.8% in 2021 due to improved healthcare systems across the county.

She sought partnership in strengthening primary healthcare through interventions such as capacity building of community health volunteers, traditional birth attendants and through technology such as point of care ultra sound and use of artificial intelligence.

She noted that COG and BMGF have previously partnered in health matters and assured the foundation of COG’s support in ensuring sustainable and optimal gain from the foundation’s investment.

Governor Waiguru also sought partnership in technology to support open governance system to enhance transparency and effective service delivery. This is through automation of government services across devolved sectors such health, revenue collection, agriculture extension services, waste management and urban planning and development.

On agriculture, the governor said that counties have invested in provision of agricultural inputs to farmers, reduction cost of mechanization and increased market and value addition. She pointed out that counties are investing Ksh 35 billion in agriculture and called for collaboration to strengthen value addition in the different agricultural value chains.

She affirmed the COG’s commitment to the full implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, noting that counties have put in place SDG units to track and report progress of implementation.

COG also sought partnership in strengthening the capacities of county governments in climate change and responsive delivery mechanisms.

“The COG cannot turn a blind eye to the impacts of climate change and that lasting solutions can only be achieved through joint locally-led climate actions at the lowest level,” she said.

The chair said that the COG is committed to partnering in strengthening of climate change adaptation initiatives such as adoption of smart agriculture through improved drought resistant seeds and improved dairy breeds for increased milk production. She pointed out on the need to build resilience of the communities by investing in dams for irrigation water which will ensure there is food security.

She said that that Kirinyaga County Government which she heads has been in the forefront in designing and implementing programs that are geared towards environmental conservation, climate change adaptation and resilience.

Governor Waiguru pointed out that her administration has been supporting women to diversify agricultural production through Wezesha Kirinyaga economic empowerment program. Through the program, farmers are funded to undertake poultry, dairy, pigs, avocado, macadamia and dairy farming as well as bee keeping. Avocado and Macadamia farming provide farmers with an income and help in increasing the county’s tree cover.

The COG Chair reaffirmed the commitment of the county governments in championing devolution and urged partners like BMGF to work closely with the devolved units since they have a robust funds flow mechanism.

The meeting was also attended by the foundation’s Global Director, Benjamin Piper, the Africa Director, Cheikh Oumar Seydi and the East African Regional Representative, Samburu Wa-Shiko.

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