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Kenya Kwanza lawmakers defend construction of Sh28 billion hospital in Eldoret

Lawmakers from the North Rift have told off their opposition counterparts over calls to suspend the construction of the new Sh28 billion Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The Azimio la Umoja faction has asked the government to suspend the revival plan of constructing the hospital in President William Ruto’s hometown of Eldoret.

But Rift Valley MPs led by Julius Rutto (Kesses) have accused the opposition of malice.

They say the hospital is a good project that will benefit Kenyans across the political divide.

The leaders said the new project will help decongest the current facility due to the high number of referrals from various counties and countries within the East Africa Community.

Mr Rutto observed the region has adequate space and infrastructural facilities that include Eldoret International Airport and an airstrip to facilitate the movement of Kenyans seeking treatment.

The legislator noted that Uasin Gishu County hosts two universities-Moi University and the University of Eldoret-that would provide the much-needed human capital for the project.

“It’s unfortunate and wrong that a well-deserved project is being unnecessarily politicized. The current facility is congested because it handles many referral cases since most counties have not fully equipped the health facilities,

“The current MTRH also serves the entire East African region is very congested in terms of the outpatient and inpatient areas. The 1,200-bed facility often has bed occupancy rates of over 150 per cent around the year. The new 2,000 bed Multi-Specialty MTRH project is feasible and well justified,” stated the first-term lawmaker.

Soy MP David Kiplagat also rubbished the opposition’s calls to suspend the multi-billion project, saying that they lack the basis to reject it.

“The new MTRH hospital was designed but curtailed by handshake government and will now proceed. Azimio cannot stop the project. They have no capacity to do so,” explained the lawmaker.

On Monday, the National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi said that constructing another multi-billion- hospital in the North Rift while the region now has Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) is a way to deny other regions which have no such facilities an opportunity to have one.

“It seeks to continue the politics of favoritism and patronage through which deserving regions have been denied projects while those regions that are well catered for get rewarded all the same because the President comes from there,” explained Mr Wandayi, a close ally of Mr Odinga.

However, local leaders have told off the Ugunja lawmaker for calls to suspend the project, saying that the project is justified as it would serve all Kenyans.

The project, earmarked for construction on 200 acres at Kiplombe on the outskirts of Eldoret town, is supposed to complement services offered at the MTRH.

In the first term of Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration, the Jubilee government was undecided on whether to construct a Sh28 billion facility or renovate the current multi-specialty 1,000-bed MTRH.

The multibillion hospital project, which was to kick off in 2015, is still awaiting the release of funds after its approval by the Uhuru Kenyatta government and development partners to help decongest the current facility.

The hospital will be built in two phases, with the first one estimated to cost Sh18 billion and phase two Sh10 billion.

During her visit last week to MTRH, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Wafula pledged the government’s commitment to the construction of the new project.

Last week, Parliamentary Committee on Health Chairperson Robert Pukose said Sh18 billion would be factored into the supplementary budget to facilitate the first phase of the project to be kick-started.

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