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Boost for Agricultural Extension Services

Farmers in Vihiga County are set to benefit from extension services after the Governor commissioned two vehicles and 20 motorcycles.

Under the auspices of National Agricultural Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) component three which deals with capacity building of county Governments to support community led development initiatives, extension officers will move with ease reaching out to farmers and giving information on the right farming methods and technology.

Speaking during the commissioning, Governor Ottichilo said NARIGP has been instrumental in inculcating new technology in farming and making Vihiga farmers move from the traditional subsistence farming to agribusiness. The procured vehicles and motorcycles will go a long way in extension services for farmers to upscale production while harnessing new farming technologies. The Governor said that capacity building is a critical ingredient in ensuring success of NARIGP. " Am challenging our youths to take agribusiness seriously because it pays handsomely than formal employment," said the Governor.

100 youths have been trained as Community Facilitators for the Field Farmer Schools (FFS) that will be educating farmers on the best farming practices. The FFS program will run for 20 weeks and aims to build capacity on new farming technologies to farmers.

Deputy Governor Dr. Patrick Saisi said extension services to farmers is critical because it makes farmers have the right information and get it right. He said vehicles and motorcycles easing movement of extension officers, farmers will have an opportunity to double their profits in agribusiness, an attribute he said will have a multiplier effect on food production in the county.

Agriculture CECM Geoffrey Vukaya said NARIGP operation period in the County has been extended from 2021 to 2023 and challenged farmers to take advantage of it and venture into agribusiness.

Chief officer for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Pamela Busungu said extension services to farmers will enable Vihiga curb the perennial food shortage because farmers will have knowledge on the best farming practices on small acreages.

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CORONA Prevention Measures Instilled to the Governor's Scholarship Beneficiaries

As the debate on schools re-opening takes momentum , Vihiga County Government has trained the 220 students who are beneficiaries of the Governor's Scholarship on how to control the spread of Corona Virus among themselves when schools resume.

This is through the mentorship program which was held today's at Praise Center Church Mbale.

Speaking to the students, Vihiga Governor Dr wilber Ottichilo said that the world is entering an era which will only need people who can easily adapt to lifestyle dynamics some of which have been brought about by Corona Virus.

"Corona has changed the way of life and we have to live with it " said Dr. Ottichilo

Dr Ottichilo urged the students to adjust to the conditions brought to us by Corona so as to face life despite the challenges

"I want you to have paradigm shift in our lives so as to manage the pandemic" . Dr ottichilo added.

The Vihiga county boss however asked the students to take serious their education as is the only way to survive in the coming years.

In his remarks, Governor Ottichilo said the ECDE pupils will resume their learning one month after official opening of primary and secondary section.

ECDE Chief Officer Dr. Mary Anyienda said, most of the pupils do not understand any of the protocols set by the Ministry of Health on combating covid 19 hence the need for such knowledge before learning resumes.

The today's Mentorship Program saw the female students getting sanitary pads besides being trained against irresponsible behaviors

Vihiga County Government will issue facemasks and sanitizers to the students once they get back to schools.

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Climate Change Mitigation

Barely a few days after the inauguration of The Vihiga County Climate Change Fund Planning Committee, Vihiga County is set to benefit from financially locally-led climate change action (FLLOCA) program kitty marned by the World Bank and National Treasury.

Today, The Vihiga Governor HE. Dr. Wilber Ottichilo held a consultative assessment readiness meeting with a program coordinator for FLLOCA Mr. Peter Odhengo, program manager Dr. Maurice Pedo and a representation from CoG Mrs. Eunice Fedha. The assessment aimed at evaluating the County’s preparedness towards accessing the Climate Change funds, starting from March, 2020. The funds will be used towards mitigating the impacts of climate change in all the wards in the County.

The enactment of The Vihiga County Climate Change Fund Act, 2019, The Vihiga County Climate Change Fund Policy, 2019, The Vihiga County Climate Change Fund Regulations, 2019, The Vihiga County Climate Change Action Plan 2020-2025, Establishment of the Climate Change Directorate, are some of the key achievements of the County, enhancing the chances of accessing the funds in the first phase of dispensation.

The County government through Environment, Water, Energy and Natural Resources is currently in the process of setting up Governance Structures which include The County Steering Committee, The County Climate Change Planning Committee and Ward Climate Change Committees that are aimed at strengthening the County and Local community initiatives to mitigate the effects of climate change.

"When I was a member of parliament I tabled Climate Change bill in 2013, which was enacted into law in 2016. We want to bring climate change aspirations to the locals for me it's a very important program" Dr. Wilber Ottichilo.

Also in attendance, were The County Secretary Mr. Ezekiel Ayiego, Chair of County Assembly for Environment Hon.Vincent Atsiaya, Chief Officer for Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Dr. Richard Boiyo and his counterpart for Water and Sanitation Mr. Clement Manyulu, County Director for Environment (NEMA) Mr. Hesbon Monda and the Climate Change Unit (Alice Musuluve, Vera Muliro and Karani Chinzia).

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Climate Change Fund Planning Committee Inaugurated

The Vihiga County Climate Change Fund Planning Committee has been inaugurated to propel the climate change initiatives in the County.

The Committee is tasked with; Initiating and coordinating finance for climate change adaptation and mitigation activities at the community level, establishing Climate Finance Mechanisms, facilitating and planning Climate Change adaptation and mitigation and budgetary framework, seeking and receiving grants from international sources among other tasks.

Vihiga County is among the top ten Counties that have to enact the County Climate Change Fund Act 2019, which aligns with the Climate Change Fund Act of 2016.

In his address Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo urged the Committee to put their best feet forward in addressing the challenges posed by Climate Change. The Committee is led by Dr. Humphrey Mukisira, a career climate crusader.

Some of the climate change initiatives that are expected to be undertaken by the planning committee include; Sustainable Land Management to curb perennial landslides and Vegetable farming.

Makueni County Chief Officer for Environment Becky Nthenge who urged the Committee to synergize climate change protocols from the Ward levels to the County level. She reminded the committee to put public participation at the core of it's operations adding that climate change concerns the people.

Present at the event were Deputy Governor Dr. Patrick Saisi, partners from Christian Aid led by Nicholas Obuya and representatives from ADS Western.

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Youths Urged To Form Groups To Access Opportunities

Bodaboda sector plays a vital role in the economic growth of this Country. Apart from fastening movement of goods and services, the sector has also provided a source of income to many youths.

Cognizant of this, Equity Bank(Mbale branch) in collaboration with Car and General Limited today handed over five motorbikes to Cheptulu United Boda Boda Group at Cheptulu grounds in Shiru ward.

In an initiative spearheaded by Vihiga Deputy Governor Dr. Patrick Saisi, the move will go along way in boosting revenue generation for the youths.

Addressing the beneficiaries, Dr. Saisi narrated the genesis of the program, applauding the group for being consistent in their quest for empowerment.

'When these youths visited me at my home about this program,I contacted the Equity bank team who came,trained and have finally delivered the motorbikes to the youths,' said the Deputy Governor.

The County's second in command also advised politicians to engage in such activities, urging youths to form groups, register and open bank accounts in order to access more developmental opportunities.

On her part, Mbale Equity Bank manager Jane Ogutu noted that apart from banking services, Equity Bank also champions for empowerment through the Equity Group Foundation.

Benard Ng'etich who represented Car and General Limited, the main suppliers of the motorbikes stated that their main aim as a company is to change riders into owners.

Cheptulu United Bodaboda group Chairman Hudson Imbudi thanked the Deputy Governor for initiating the project that has seen them acquire motorbikes at cost-effective rates.

The program entails formation of a group, opening a bank account with Equity Bank, depositing Kshs. 15,000 and committing yourself to a daily payment of Kshs. 300 for 12 months.

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Development Boost As Construction Of Speaker's Residence Kicks Off

Sabatia residents have received a major boost following the laying of foundation stone for the construction of County Assembly Speaker's residence at Keveye in Sabatia West ward.

During the event, Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo stated that the residence will come along with a lot of development projects. 'With the establishment of the speaker's residence here,this area is going to develop more both infrastructure and security wise,' said the Governor.

Dr. Ottichilo also noted that the project will be owned by the residents, urging the site contractor to give first priority to locals when it comes to manpower.

Deputy Governor Dr. Patrick Saisi advised the community to work closely with the contractor and leadership for the success of the project and county at large.

On her part, Vihiga County Assembly Speaker Hasna Mudeizi promised to ensure that work is done to the required standards, reiterating that the residence will not be her personal property.

'Once complete, this house will not be mine but rather play host to County Assembly speakers during and after my tenure,' Mudeizi pointed out.

The one-storeyed building is expected to be completed in six month's time.

Also present were Transport department CECM Prof. Enonda Mwanje, County Assembly leadership led by Deputy Speaker Zachariah Murefu, a host of MCAs and other county leaders.

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Majengo Market Set For An Upgrade

Residents of Majengo in Vihiga County specifically the traders are a happy lot as this morning they witnessed the handing over of Majengo Market into being refurbished by the Ministry of Urban Planning in collaboration with the County Government of Vihiga.

The exercise is under the recently devolved Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) where counties across the country will have their markets given a facelift that aims at bringing down the fruits of devolution to the mwananchi.

Speaking during the handing over, Governor Ottichilo agreed to it that the traders have been facing challenges of late and that he has requested the contractor to at least fast-track the exercise so as to allow them trade in a conducive environment.

"We have agreed that within two months, all works should be done. Among the things to be considered in the refurbishment include, construction of modern toilets, installation of water tanks." said Governor Ottichilo.

On the other hand, his Deputy, Dr. Patrick Saisi noted that the Ottichilo led team is focused towards development.

"We have done proposals that are well prepared and that is why such privileges are being accorded to us." said the Deputy Governor.

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25 Million Shillings For Business

The County economy is set to soar higher after the launch of the second phase of Trade and Enterprise Fund.

A total of 25 million shillings will be disbursed to groups and individuals in business.

In his address during the launch at Mulukhoro in Emuhaya Sub County, Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo urged the beneficiaries to put the loan into prudent use so as to spur economy of the County. "This is a revolving fund and my Government's desire is that it serves generations in this County, I therefore urge you to put the money into good use for better returns", said the Governor.

The County boss said the most important thing is capacity building for the business sector so that people can engage in viable and profitable business ventures. He added that his administration through the department of trade will organize for traders from the County to attend local and international trade fair and exhibitions so as to interact and gain knowledge from business people from other areas.

The Governor also officially opened the Vihiga Trade and Enterprise Fund Board's offices and commissioned a vehicle that the board members will use for field work.

Deputy Governor Dr Patrick Saisi urged beneficiaries of the fund to implore prudence in managing the money so as to transform their lives and boost County economy.

The Vihiga County Trade and Enterprise Fund was formed in 2019 and 33 million shillings was disbursed in the first year of inception. Present at the event were Deputy Governor Dr Patrick Saisi, Trade CECM Elvuna Keseko,Chief officer Gilbert Vidija, Director administration Harrison Matevwa, Sub County and Ward administrators, Fund's board members and beneficiaries of the Fund.

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More Than 2,500 Youths Benefit From Kazi Mtaani Initiative

In line with the President's directive to establish 'Kazi Mitaani' at grassroot level to salvage youths during this deadly COVID-19 pandemic time, Vihiga County Commissioner Ochillo Oyugi together with Deputy Governor Dr. Patrick Saisi today flagged off the initiative that will see more than 2,500 youths in Vihiga engage in casual works to earn income.

Addressing the recruits at the County headquarters during the event, County Commissioner Ochillo Oyugi urged the youths to embrace hardwork, respect and adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines while executing their tasks. 'Ensure you put on a mask and maintain social distance while working.Follow instructions from you supervisors keenly and ensure you report to work from 8 am to 4 pm,' Said the County Commissioner.

Oyugi stated that the County Implementation Committee will be reporting to the National Government on daily basis regarding the progress of the project, assuring the ladies and gentlemen that payment will be done through Mobile Money for transparency and accountability purposes.

Deputy Governor Dr. Patrick Saisi commended the President for the move, noting that it will keep youths busy and at the same time enabling them earn income.

Dr. Saisi also said that in addition to what the National government has offered, the county government has set aside money in the 2020/2021 Financial Year budget for the same purpose.

'We have budgeted some funds for youths in this year's budget to cushion them against corona virus.For those who didn't make it in this selection,let them not give up but rather brace up for the next phase,' The Deputy Governor noted.

Among the tasks to be executed by the new recruits include; Beautification, Planting trees, Roads maintenance, maintaining government facilities, solid waste management, cleaning ditches and opening of culverts.

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Ezekiel Ayiego Takes Oath of Office as New Vihiga County Secretary

The Vihiga County human resource has today received a major boost after Ezekiel Marley Ayiego was sworn in as the new County Secretary.

In an event held today at the County headquarters and filled with pomp,the function saw attendance from leaders drawn from both the county executive and legislature.

Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo thanked all stakeholders involved in the recruitment process, acknowledging that basing on the results presented to him by the County Public Service Board, Ayiego was indeed the best. 'Out of the 22 who applied and 8 who were shortlisted, Ezekiel Ayiego scored the highest. I have confidence in him and I believe he will deliver,' the Governor said.

Dr. Ottichilo noted that the new county secretary's first task will be streamlining the county workforce, specifically addressing issues to do with staff audit, promotions and fairness to all employees. His main point of reference was Articles 10 and 232 of the Kenyan Constitution that talks about Principles of Governance and Public Service respectively.

Representing the legislature wing, County Assembly Deputy Speaker Zachariah Murefu urged Ayiego to make them proud as a committee for the choice they made by focusing on what he's supposed to deliver.

In his speech, the new county secretary promised to create a skilled manpower, empower youth, protect interests of the marginalized among others. The immediate former principal of Chesamis Boys high School stated that his duties will be anchored on implementing the county strategic plan,maintaining effective collaboration and ensuring efficient and effective management of resources.

Also sworn in was the new commissioner to the County Public Service Board Doris Mudeizi, representing interests of people with disabilities.

In attendance were Deputy Governor Dr. Patrick Saisi, Public Service Board led by Chairperson Amb. Franklin Esipila, CECMs Pamela Kimwele(Public Service), Mariita Agufana(Environment), Prof. Enonda Mwanje(Transport),Dr. Amos Kutwa (Health), Chief Officers Philip Gavuna(Public Service) Dr. Richard Boiyo(Environment), Gilbert Vidija(Trade), Dominic Luvavo(Sports),Pamela Busungu(Agriculture) and a host of MCAs led by Deputy Speaker Zachariah Murefu and Majority Leader Henry Asava.

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Second Phase of Beautification Within Vihiga Municipality Kicks Off

Mbale Town is set for a major facelift after Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo launched the second phase of beautification of the town. He was flanked by his Deputy Dr. Patrick Saisi, Lands Committee Chair in the Assembly Hon. Ukiru and a host of Members of The County Assembly.

While addressing residents, the Governor assured the residents that the contractor awarded to carry out the exercise is upto task and that the designs used are going to make Mbale a better town. "I tasked my officers to competitively source a contractor and we are lucky to have gotten one who even recently did the beautification for Kisumu town. In the near future it will be good for us to be referring to our towns as cities just like the other people do. " said the County Boss.

The county boss further noted that the whole exercise will approximately cost Kenya shillings 200 million. He urged the residents of Mbale to accord the contractor necessary support especially the market vendors who will be the most affected.

Deputy Governor, Dr. Patrick Saisi urged the youth to seek casual jobs from the contractor and to ensure they deliver services effectively to avoid cases of manpower being outsourced. "When such a project is proposed in our county, let us embrace it for the sake of having development that will eventually be of benefit to us as a society. " said the Deputy Governor.

The second phase of Mbale beautification is projected to be done in a year's time according to the Vihiga Municipal Manager Andrew Ahuga. Construction of footpaths, erecting of high mast floodlights, street lighting along Kisumu Kakamega highway from Lunyerere to Majengo, rehabilitation of drainage systems will be among the projects to be undertaken in the second phase of Mbale Town beautification.

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Vihiga Governor Supports Constitutional Amendments

Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo has praised the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) saying that it will be able to amend the constitution hence allowing more funds to flow into counties and for counties to have their own IFMIS system.

He also reiterated that his administration has been able to come up with a new County Government Structure and also undertaking human audit to mitigate the bloated wage bill being experienced in the county and inadequate technical staff challenges. 'I am hopeful that Kenyans will support the amendment of the constitution for a better Kenya,' said Ottichilo.

Dr. Ottichilo has also promised health workers that salary delays will soon be a thing of the past as their promotions are being worked on by his administration in the next financial year and urged them to continue with the good job they are doing since the deadly virus is yet to be contained in the country. He has also expressed his sincere gratitude to the fore front health workers in the county for their exemplary efforts in helping residents prepare for the for the novel corona virus despite the challenges they are facing.

'We shall forever be indebted for your kindness, hard work and resilience', said Ottichilo.

Since the deadly virus is here with us and will be for a long time, Dr. Ottichilo has urged Vihiga residents to accept several changes that that have been put in place by the Ministry of Health and those that will occur with time including our culture in order to save humanity.

Despite the changes the county has also trained health workers in all five sub-county health facilities including community health volunteers, established screening points along our entry border points, launched fumigation exercises that is ongoing in all our major markets, set up command centre that receives call of any suspected cases and monitors covid 19 emergencies, purchased thermo guns, oxygen concentrators and personal protective equipment and set up three isolation wards to manage any corona case.

In the spirit of Madaraka Day and the devolved system of governance at the county level, the county has also made major strides in all departments. Governor Ottichilo cited that his administration has implemented development projects across all wards not forgetting flagship projects as captured in the 2018-2020 County Integrated Development Plan.

Dr. Ottichilo also took the opportunity to eulogize veteran zilizopendwa musician John Nzeze Amutabi who passed on 30th May 2020 terming him a legend.

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Let Schools Open After COVID-19, Vihiga DG Urges Government

Vihiga Deputy Governor Dr. Patrick Saisi has urged the Ministry of Education not to open schools during this period when corona virus cases are still rampant.

According to Dr. Saisi, students resuming school at such a time is very risky considering their different places of origin. 'Our children come from different places and if we open schools at this time, we might be endangering their lives by encouraging the spread of this deadly pandemic,' the former Moi University don stated.

Dr. Saisi, who also doubles up as Youth, Sports, Culture and Social Services CECM was speaking today during the commissioning of the Tiriki Cultural Centre at Chemusieni in Shiru Ward, Hamisi Sub County.

He also noted that through the department of culture, the government is committed to preserve culture and cultural practices through the construction of cultural centers in the respective regions.

The department has already commenced the construction of the Muloogoli cultural centre at Mungoma ward, Vihiga sub county, with Abanyore and Terik centres set to begin in due course.

The centres will be custodian of cultural information and artifacts where tourist will learn more about the origin and culture of the four dominant tribes in Vihiga.

Culture Chief Officer Dominic Luvavo on his part requested residents to support the project for it to be successful and benefit them.

Also present were Shiru ward MCA Nickson Butiya, department of Culture officers among other area leaders.

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KESSHA Vihiga Chapter Donates to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund

Vihiga County Covid-19 Emergency Response Committee under the leadership of Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo today received an assortment of equipment and foodstuffs towards combating Covid19 pandemic in the County from the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA) Vihiga Chapter. The consignment was handed to the Governor by KESSHA Vihiga Chapter Chairman Albert Masiolo.

In his address, the Governor was grateful to the teaching fraternity for the noble gesture. The donation included 127 bags of maize, 13 and a half bags of beans, 150Kg of rice, 50Kg of Sugar, 20 litres of hand washing soap, handwashing plastic tanks, sanitizers, 200 pieces of bar soaps, 1000 pieces of masks just to mention a few. KESSHA National Chairman Mr. Kahi Indimuli sent a personal donation of 3 bales of maize flour, 6 bags of 25kg rice and 48 bottles of hand sanitizers.

The County boss said the donation will go a long way in addressing the challenges the pandemic has posed to the world.

Vihiga County KESSHA chairman Albert Masiolo said the donation given cost approximately 900,000 shillings.

The Governor also received a donation of 45 thermo guns worth one million shillings from the People's Republic of Korea. An initiative of Dr. Jacob Odipo, a paedetrician at the Vihiga County Referral Hospital.

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Vihiga Governor Signs Health Bills to Help in Corona Prevention

As the world grapples with mitigation of the COVID-19 Pandemic, various measures are being undertaken to realize the efforts by the nation moreso the by County Governments.

This morning Governor Ottichilo in company of his Deputy Dr. Patrick Saisi hosted the County Assembly leadership led by Honorable Speaker Hasna Mudeizi in signing of the Vihiga County Health Facilities Improvement Fund Bill 2019 and The Vihiga County Health Services Bill 2019.

In his remarks, Governor Ottichilo noted that the Bills provide a framework within which improvement of the status of health facilities in the County will be realized. The Bills will also create the spirit of competition amongst health facilities especially in the quality of services offered. He further noted that the two bills will also help his government to manage health services delivery through a legal framework making their activities roll out comfortably. "This has come at the right time when the nation and the whole world has focused on health care delivery, we shall also experience more funding since most donors will be comfortable to work with my government due to the legal framework adopted. Moreover, I task the health department leadership to quickly come up with regulations for the bills so as to have them actualized fully," said the County Boss.

The Governor urged the County Assembly leadership to help fast track in passing of the Disaster Management Bill which is ready for discussion on the floor of the house so as to help in the current flooding across the country and the Corona Virus Pandemic.

Speaker of the County Assembly, Hasna Mudeizi accompanied by Members of The County Assembly Health Committee reaffirmed the Governor of their support in execution of services to the residents of Vihiga County. "We are compelled to making sure the people of this county receive quality health services making accessibility of the services a key factor to them. Article 10 of the Constitution talks of objects of the constitution which focus on decentralization of services to the mwananchi being a fundamental component of devolution." said the speaker.

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Appeal for Donations

Vihiga County under the auspices of County Covid-19 Emergency Response Committee today launched a donation drive aimed at mobilising resources to cushion Vihiga residents during this Covid-19 pandemic period.

The initiative saw a section of Vihiga County leadership join hands in coming up with ways of addressing the challenges the pandemic has presented.

Vihiga County government in its supplementary budget has allocated 28 million shillings towards addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic. Apart from this, the County has trained health workers and Community Health Volunteers as part of preparedness towards the pandemic.

Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi pledged a donation of 600 bags of maize worth 2.4 million shillings and masks worth 600,000 shillings to the Fund. His Hamisi counterpart Dr. Charles Gimose pledged 100 bags of maize to the Fund while Vihiga Senator George Khaniri pledged a cash donation of 200,000 shillings.

Governor Ottichilo was grateful to the leaders for the unity adding that true measure of leadership is defined in times of hardship. He appealed for other well wishers to come on board and contribute towards the initiative.

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A 12 Million Equipment Donation to Help in Combating COVID-19 in Vihiga

Health Services in Vihiga County are set to receive a major boost as plans are underway to have the establishment of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at The Vihiga County Referral Hospital in less than three months.

Governor Ottichilo said this as he received a donation of medical equipment from Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church to help combat the Corona Virus pandemic in the County. "This is a great gesture and I want to note that this donation is going to make a great difference in the way we are going to handle the Corona Virus Pandemic. This donation in total is worth Ksh. 12.3 million shillings ", said Governor Ottichilo. The Governor further noted that he was grateful to the church leadership for having approved the exact budget prepared by The County Government of Vihiga in its proposal.

In his remarks, County Commissioner, Ochillo Oyugi who is Vice Chair to the Governor in The Vihiga County COVID-19 Emergency Response Committee noted that the donation is a major boost since the effort put by the County Government in collaboration with the National Government is not all that enough to fight the said pandemic. "We know that this disease is global and there is a resource gap in dealing with it, therefore such an act comes in handy, " said the County Commissioner.

Among the Medical Equipment donated by the church include, N95 Face Masks, Sanitizers, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), Oxygen Cylinders, Detergents, Beds, Drip Stands among others.

The mission's Nairobi region President Khumbulani Nzetshe said that the donation is in line with the church's mission of helping people in times of need as the bible commands. " We are grateful to partner with Vihiga County in addressing the pandemic at hand, the Church of Christ of The Latter Day Saints goes beyond the intellectual understanding of the word of to practically applying it to our day to day lives "~ said Nzetshe.

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Masks for the Vulnerable

H.E. Dr. Wilber Ottichilo - Governor Vihiga County today launched production of face masks to be distributed to the vulnerable members of the community at Ebusiralo Vocational Training Centre in Luanda Township Ward.

The Governor was grateful to the department of education through the TVET directorate for mooting the idea of making face masks for the people of Vihiga. "I have seen that great work is being done here and our people will get masks soon" - said the Governor.

The initiative fronted by the County department of Education's Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) will see 2500 masks produced daily staring Monday next week. The Governor said this will go a long way in mitigating the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in Vihiga.

Chief Officer for TVET Abisai Amatalo said Covid-19 pandemic has brought lots of challenges to the people but in the midst of the challenge, most youths in Vocational training centres have a chance to sharpen their skills in garment making, a discipline that encompasses mask design and making.

Vulnerable families have been mapped by the County under the auspices of County Emergency Response Committee which is chaired by the Governor will receive face masks, hand washes, hand washing equipment and sanitizers as well as foodstuffs to cushion them from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Fumigation Exercise Begins

In a bid to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Vihiga County has launched a fumigation exercise that will cover all market centres in the County.

Speaking during the launch, Vihiga Governor Dr Wilber Ottichilo said his administration is committed to ensuring the county is Covid-19 free.

The Governor said face masks are being made at Vocational Training Centres in the County to be distributed to Vihiga people for free. He said traders and bodaboda operators will be given first priority in the distribution of face masks because of the high level of interactions they make in line of performing their duties.

He reiterated that his government has suspended revenue collection for three months as a measure aimed at cushioning traders during the tough Covid-19 period.

Later on at night, Acting Chief officer for Medical Services Dr. Richard Boyio supervised the fumigation exercise that is being conducted by the County department of health in conjunction with the department of transport and infrastructure's firefighting unit.

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Fumigation of Market Centres in Vihiga to Commence

As a way of combating Covid-19 within the County, fumigation of market centres across the county will commence next week.

Speaking to the press after a County Covid-19 Emergency Response consultative forum held today at Roddy's Eco Lounge in Luanda, Vihiga Governor Dr Wilber Ottichilo said his government is leaving nothing to chance regarding the pandemic. He said his government is committed to ensuring Vihiga County is Covid-19 free.

The County boss added that the pandemic has posed lots of challenges to the health sector, one of them being lack of enough medical staff. The Public Service Commission (PSC) has allocated Vihiga County 124 slots for recruitment of nurses and clinical officers, a process Dr. Ottichilo said will be done by the commission in conjunction with the Vihiga County Public Service Board.

The consultative meeting had Members of the County Assembly who were brought to speed on what the County Executive has done so far with regards to combating Covid-19. The Governor was grateful to the Members of the County Assembly for adopting proposals and Covid-19 funds captured in the supplementary budget for the fourth quarter of this financial year.

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Governor Commissions Equipment to Isolation and Quarantine Centres

Assorted equipment to health facilities across the County were commissioned today at the Vihiga County Referral Hospital by Governor Wilber Ottichilo.

Speaking at the event the Governor said his government is ready to go an extra mile in laying precautionary measures to keep Covid-19 at bay. Some of the equipment commissioned include; N95 masks for healthcare workers, crank beds, oxygen concentrators, bedsheets, detergents, hand sanitizers, mattresses and cellular blankets.

The Government has set 50 isolation centres across the county. Sub County Medical Officers of Health (MOHs) will oversee the distribution of these equipment.

Additionally, the government has procured Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that are expected to be at the County by close of business today.

The Governor was flanked by Vihiga county commissioner Ochillo Oyugi, County police commandant Hassan Barua, department of health staff led by chief officers Mary Anyiendah and Dr. Richard Boyio.

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Joy to Vihiga Traders as Governor Suspends Tax for 30 Days

Traders in Vihiga County will from today be exempted from paying tax for the next 30 days. This is according to Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo who spoke today while distributing hand washing equipment and soap to traders and bodaboda operators in Luanda market.

The initiative, which was done by the Ottichilo Action Team(OAT) under the patronage of the Governor aims at inculcating hand washing culture to prevent the spread of the corona virus.

In his address, Dr. Ottichilo stated that the county water bowser will continue providing free water services across the county on frequent basis. The county boss also urged residents to follow government directives in a bid to combat the COVID-19.

To effect the social distance rule, the governor said that traders will be organized one metre apart so as to balance between revenue generation and adhering to the Ministry of Health orders. 'Wholesale distribution of foodstuffs will now be done at Mumboha stadium and only retailers shall be allowed in the market. This virus is a global pandemic and we can't leave anything to chance ,' Dr. Ottichilo directed.

The Governor requested the security team to apply minimum force while enforcing government regulations, especially during curfew hours.

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Vihiga Governor Meets MPs on COVID-19 Preparedness

Vihiga County leadership led by Governor Wilber Ottichilo today met to deliberate on the mitigative measures to be undertaken in combating Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the auspices of County Covid-19 emergency response committee, the Governor met with MPs drawn from the five constituencies of Vihiga County to address ways of combating Covid-19. In attendance were MPs Ernest Kagesi (Vihiga), Omboko Milemba(Emuhaya), Dr. Charles Gimose (Hamisi), Beatrice Adagala(Woman Rep) Sabatia and Luanda MPs sent representatives.

The meeting resolved that Vihiga County leadership to work together in combating the pandemic. Emuhaya Mp Omboko Milemba said he will push for an amendment to the CDF Act to include funding of emergencies from the CDF kitty. He also said that he will compel the National Government to cascade the funds from development partners to fight Covid-19 to the Counties.

Governor Ottichilo said his administration will frequently hold meetings with local leadership to address the pandemic at hand.

He added that the County administration has allocated 77 million shillings in the supplementary budget to address the effects of Covid-19 in the County. The County government has mapped the vulnerable households across the County who will receive food subsidy.

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Press Briefs

Governor Ottichillo

A County Command centre has been set up at the County headquarters to coordinate all activities related to the Covid 19 pandemic. Mini command centers also set up at sub counties all the way to village level.

Stay at home- Discouraged youths on playing football and said anyone found will be arrested and quarantined.

The county has put up the main isolation center at Vihiga County Referral Hospital with an additional one at Keveye vocational training center for forced quarantine.

Training of healthcare workers is ongoing across the county and has cascaded down to Community Health Volunteers.

8 healthcare workers have attended training on infection prevention of COVID-19 organized by the national government in Kisumu who will in turn train other government officers and Vihiga residents.

Social mobilization ongoing in the county to sensitize residents on COVID-19.

County Commissioner

The curfew by the president will be implemented that is from 7:00pm to 5:00am.

Closure of all open air markets within Vihiga to prevent infection of COVID-19.

Residents adhere to social distancing.

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Steps Toward Prevention of COVID - 19 Virus in Vihiga County

Corona virus has become a menace worldwide and Vihiga county has not been left behind in the strive for the prevention of the deadly virus.

Vihiga Governor, Dr. Wilber Ottichilo today held a boardroom meeting with the county’s health officials alongside his Deputy Governor, Dr. Patrick Saisi, the County Commissioner and Vihiga Police commander to discuss and deliberate on the preventive measures that are to be undertaken by the County Government .

The Governor later made an impromptu visit to Vihiga referral hospital where he inspected the building that is set aside as an isolation unit for the corona virus patients.

Already the hospital has received some equipment from the ministry of health that will help in the prevention of the corona virus.

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Vihiga County to Champion Geospatial Technologies Services (GTS) Matters Nationwide

46 counties across the nation are set to visit Vihiga County for a conference to specifically benchmark on matters of Geospatial Technologies Services (GTS). This comes after Governor Wilber Ottichilo this morning hosted a delegation of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officials led by newly appointed FAO Representative Dr. Tobias Takavarsha

"We have continuously had a good working relationship with FAO through a lot of innovative work especially using the partnership we have. It is my wish that we fast track plans for the proposed conference of the 46 counties through proper mobilization by involving key stakeholders such as my colleague Governors, who have always been willing to adopt the system, their Deputies and County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) of relevant departments such as the Urban Development, Lands and Physical Planning”, said Governor Ottichilo.

On the other hand, Dr. Tobias Takavarsha applauded Vihiga County for adopting the concept of GTS platform and applying it in implementation of County projects thus ensuring effective service delivery. "This is a significant day where we have had quite a consultative forum with your Governor, this being my 3rd county to visit since I got into office. The trans-formative step taken by Vihiga County in championing adoption of GTS to plan and implement projects is impressive. Often, many planning efforts have failed due to insufficient information, but with the well informed demonstration I have just witnessed at the GTS laboratory, Vihiga is set to achieve a lot, “said Dr Takavarsha.

TFAO has played a significant role in establishment of the Vihiga GTS laboratory by aiding in its equipping process to an excess of sh.20million. Council of Governors representative, Emily Sawe who accompanied the delegation acknowledged that according to the Council's records, Vihiga has the best laboratory nationwide and it is the best to be used for benchmarking.

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"We Have Confidence in The Governor" - Vihiga Stakeholders

Stakeholders from Vihiga County have thrown their support behind Governor Wilber Ottichilo.

In a press briefing at Maseno Club, the stakeholders drawn from the construction industry, sports and civil society termed the impending impeachment of Governor Ottichilo as malicious.

In a statement read by Mr. Kelvin Mwangu, the group said they fully believe Governor Ottichilo has initiated many development projects in the County despite perennial delays in release of funds from the exchequer. " The Governor has initiated many development projects from lighting of market centres, construction of roads and bridges, improvement in the health sector among other things, it is surprising that some Members of the County Assembly want to impeach him", said Mwangu.

They took issue with the procedure the MCAs took in crafting notice of motion for impeachment of the Governor.

Mwibona Ward rep Zakayo Manyasa with his Luanda South counterpart Peter Alukutsa said as elected leaders they will stick with the Governor terming the intended impeachment as inconsequential. "I represent my people of Luanda South and so far they are in support of Governor's development record, i therefore see no need of supporting impeachment of a Governor who is working for his people", said Alukutsa.

They urged their counterparts at the County Assembly to embrace dialogue before contemplating impeachment.