Nakuru Unveils A Digital Platform To Help In Management Of Non-Communicable Diseases

The County Government of Nakuru has unveiled a digital platform that will help in treatment and management of diabetes and hypertension.

The digital platform which was rolled out by the county’s Department of Health in partnership with the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) is also expected to enhance health data management.

A number of healthcare services have been incorporated in the platform which was designed by Medtronic Labs and includes consultations, tests, treatment and monitoring of the important medical conditions according to national and best practice guidelines.

County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Health Roselyn Mungai explained that the initiative aims to integrate diabetes and hypertension prevention and management into primary health care model that has already been fully rolled out across the 11 Sub-Counties.

Speaking during an induction workshop on the platform for health workers drawn from Kuresoi South and Rongai Sub Counties, Mungai said the model was in line with Governor Sus
an Kihika’s manifesto on prioritizing the strengthening of support systems for chronic diseases management.

The county executive said by improving coordination between physicians and patients, the digital platform will enable more customized care, which she noted was vital with regard to managing diabetes and hypertension.

She indicated that through the technology physicians will be able to track patients on medication and find out whether their condition is under control while also identifying those defaulting on medication.

According to Mungai, all the relevant information and a historical view of the individual patient will easily be accessed by the healthcare workers attending to them.

Once the clients log on to the platform, the CECM explained that they will be offered the possibility to make use of a self-management application where they will input their blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

She further said that the patients will then be offered feedback based on their results which includes ale
rts to visit the nearest health facility if their sugar or pressure levels are out of range. The platform also offers push notifications to remind users when to check their blood sugar next.

‘Blood pressure and blood sugar levels readings are keyed into the digital platform that links to the healthcare providers at the health centres. If the readings are not within normal, the doctors are alerted and are able to call either to give instructions on what remedial action to take or to have the patient go to the hospital’, elaborated the health officer.

Mungai observed that the user-friendly digital platform would help underserved populations particularly low-income families and adults aged over of 65 years.

She explained that the interventions and monitoring through the system can be handled by support staff, a move which will free up more time for physicians.

‘The technology makes things simpler. You get an SMS notification when your patient is not doing well and you are able to follow up remotely,’ said th

The prevalence of hypertension according to the Ministry of Health STEPS Report is said to have increased over the last 20 years. More than half (56%) of Kenyans have never measured blood pressure and only one in five (22.3%) of those previously diagnosed with hypertension are on treatment.

County Director for Medical Services Dr. Daniel Wainaina and the County NCDs coordinator, Mr Jackson Cheruiyot said that the training will be rolled out in the remaining nine Sub-Counties in phases.

Source: Kenya News Agency

PS Defends New Varsity Funding Model Amidst Opposition From Students

The Principal Secretary (PS) in the State Department for Higher Education and Research in Ministry of Education Dr. Beatrice Muganda Inyangala has defended the new public universities funding model, which came into effect this financial year even as students opposed it saying it would make Varsity education inaccessible to many.

Dr. Inyangala said the adoption of this model was aimed at ensuring the full cost of implementing programmes in universities was taken care of and henceforth help solve the financial woes bedeviling universities.

‘The New Funding Model (NFM) is designed to align funding more closely with the needs of individual students rather than institutions. This approach aims to better address the diverse economic backgrounds of our students and ensure that financial support is available to those who need it most,’ the PS said.

The remarks were contained in a speech read on her behalf by the Secretary Administration in the State Department for Higher Education Fredrick Ndambuki during the ope
ning of a two-day workshop on Evaluation of the New Funding Model (NFM) in Naivasha.

The aim of the workshop is to reflect on the implementation of the first cycle of the New Funding Model (NFM).

The Ministry of education together with other agencies implemented the model with the First Year students joining universities and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions in September 2023 after it was launched by President William Ruto in May last year.

The workshop is being attended by Chief Executive Officer of Government Agencies in the education sector, senior Ministry of Education (MOE) officials and student leaders from public and private universities.

But student leaders have come out guns blazing claiming the programme was implemented without consulting the students and that the new funding model would see many miss out on the university education, since the bulk of the funding was in form of loans, which would be a burden to students. The NFM introduces several key changes from t
he old funding model, which include Delinked Placement and Funding (DPF), where placement would now be based on merit and choice.

Students will also apply separately for financial assistance, including government scholarships and loans.

Another change being introduced by the model is Need-Based Funding, where instead of a uniform grant, funding would be based on the Means Testing Instrument (MTI) to determine the level of need for government scholarships and loans.

In the new funding model, the funding criteria is now based on the actual cost of university programmes, which varies from institution to institution and the cost of Funding Ratios.

Further, in NFM, Universities will benefit from diversified funding streams, including student financing, research grants, capital infrastructure grants, and consultancy services and the applicants (students) are categorized into five bands based on household income levels.

Each band receives different levels of scholarships, loans, and household contributions. F
or instance, students in Band 1 receive 70 per cent scholarships and 25 per cent loans, while those in Band 5 receive 30 per cent scholarships and 30 per cent loans.

To streamline the application process, the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS developed a central portal (, where students could apply for both scholarships and loans.

The Higher Education and Research PS revealed that so far, they had verified and allocated funds to a significant number of applicants as follows; University Students: 110,223 applications have been verified and allocated Sh11.74 billion in scholarships and Sh12.47 billion in loans, totaling Sh24.21 billion and in TVET Trainees: 104,878 trainees applied and have been verified and allocated Sh3.90 billion in scholarships and Sh3.87 billion in loans, totaling Sh7.77 billion.

‘So far, loans amounting to Sh13.53 billion have been disbursed to universities and TVETs for student upkeep and tuition. Additionally, scholarships amounting to Sh
5.29 billion have been disbursed to 39 public universities for the first semester’s tuition fees,’ Dr. Inyangala said.

The over 32 public universities in the country (according to 2021 Ministry of Higher Education data) are chocking under a total debt of over Sh75billion as at last year due to inadequate funding from the Government due to scarce resources.

Around 563,000 students were enrolled in universities in Kenya during the academic year 2022/23. The number increased from roughly 562,100 enrolled in universities in Kenya as at the beginning of the 2021 /22 academic year. Public universities rely largely on government subsidies to run their operations.

This financial year (2023/24), the National Treasury allocated only Sh44billion for higher education against a requirement of nearly Sh72billion leaving a deficit of nearly Sh28billion.

The Ministry of Education is consulting with Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders to have part of the huge pending bill facing Public Universities, which now stand
s at over Sh75 billion waived. The ministry is seeking to have part of the debt, which is now with the Parliamentary Committee on pending Bills dropped by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), especially the part involving Statutory deductions which were not remitted such as Pay as You Earn and National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) due to lack of funds so that the universities could pay the other debts such as those owed to suppliers among others.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Protect The Youth Targeted By The Tobacco And Nicotine Industry

The World Health Organization (WHO) has today launched a report highlighting how the tobacco and nicotine industry designs products and implements campaigns to get the world’s youth addicted.

In the report dubbed ‘Hooking the next generation’, WHO is amplifying the voices of young people who are calling on governments to protect them from being targets of the tobacco and nicotine industry.

This comes just ahead of the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) that is normally marked annually on May 31. This year’s theme is focused on advocating for an end to the targeting of youth with harmful tobacco products.

Presented on a virtual meeting today ahead of the commemoration, the report shows that globally, an estimated 37 million children aged 13-15 years use tobacco, and in many countries, the rate of e-cigarette use among adolescents exceeds that of adults.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that industries were actively targeting schools, children and young people with new products that are ess
entially a candy-flavoured trap.

‘History is repeating itself, as the tobacco industry tries to sell the same nicotine to our children in different packaging. How can they talk about harm reduction when they are marketing these dangerous, highly-addictive products to children?’ Dr Tedros queried.

The Director General noted that despite significant progress in reducing tobacco use, the emergence of e-cigarettes and other new tobacco and nicotine products present a grave threat to youth and tobacco control.

Studies demonstrate that e-cigarette use increases conventional cigarette use, particularly among non-smoking youth, by nearly three times even as the industries continue to market their products to young people with enticing flavours like candy and fruit, he added.

In Kenya, the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KETCA) Coordinator Thomas Lindi says that the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers between the ages of 13 and 15 is on the rise in the country.

‘Companies manufacturing e-cigarettes are using pack
aging that attracts the teens into buying and using the product. These are highly addictive products, which include e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches which are popular among Kenyan schoolchildren and adolescents,’ he noted.

Meanwhile, the lobby groups have declared their support for the ongoing review of Kenya’s Tobacco Control Act, 2007 and Regulation, 2014 considering that the prevalence of e-cigarettes consumption in Kenya is at 5.8 per cent.

Just last month, the Ministry of Health, through the Division of Drug and Substance Abuse Control and the Tobacco Control Board in collaboration with relevant stakeholders were in the process of reviewing the Tobacco Control Act 2007 and Tobacco Control Regulations 2014.

This initiative comes in response to the evolving landscape of tobacco products and the imperative to align legislative frameworks with the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya-2010.

The primary objective is to ensure the administrative and legislative viability of the existing laws and to effe
ctively address the challenges posed by emerging novel nicotine and other emerging tobacco products, to safeguard public health and mitigate the detrimental effects of tobacco use on society.

WHO Director of Health Promotion Dr Ruediger Krech said that the use of child-friendly flavours like cotton candy and bubblegum, combined with sleek and colourful designs that resembled toys, was a blatant attempt to addict young people to these harmful products.

‘These industries are intentionally designing products and utilizing marketing strategies that appeal directly to children and these deceptive tactics highlight the urgent need for strong regulations to protect young people from a lifetime of harmful dependence,’ he added.

WHO is urging governments to protect young people from the uptake of tobacco, e-cigarettes and other nicotine products by banning or tightly regulating these products.

WHO recommends creating 100 percent smoke-free indoor public places, banning flavoured e-cigarettes, bans on marketing, ad
vertising and promotion, higher taxes, increasing public awareness of the deceptive tactics used by the industry and supporting youth-led education and awareness initiatives.

Youth advocates around the world are also taking a stand against the tobacco and nicotine industry’s destructive influence and manipulative marketing by exposing these deceptive practices and advocating for their own tobacco-free future.

The Youth organizations from around the world participated in the latest session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP10) to deliver a powerful message to policy makers: ‘Future generations will remember you as the ones who protected them or the ones who failed them and put them in danger.’

According to WHO, by working together, governments, public health organizations, civil society, and empowered youth could create a world where the next generation is free from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine addiction.

According to Market insights consumer bod
y in Kenya, the revenue generated by the e-cigarettes market is projected to reach Sh3.8 billion (USD29.0m) this year and taking into account the total population figures, per person revenue in Kenya is Sh90 (USD 0.68).

Source: Kenya News Agency

Film Capacity Building Workshop Empowers Graduates

Some 127 trainees have graduated from a 6-day Film Capacity Building Workshop organized by the Kenya Film Commission and Kiambu County Government, through the Department of Youth Affairs, Sports, and Communication.

The film Capacity Building Workshop and training that took place last week was to equip Kiambu County youth with film production skills such as scripting, film production and distribution strategies.

Speaking during the graduation at the Kiambu County headquarters, Kiambu Governor Dr. Kimani Wamatangi noted his administration’s commitment to nurturing talent by providing training opportunities in not only creative industry but also in others.

‘We are proud of our youth for their roles in creative arts, innovation, and technology. Their creativity and drive are essential components of our society, propelling us forward into a future brimming with possibilities’, he said.

Wamatangi added that some of the workshop’s top performers will be selected for a fully sponsored 3-month Film Course at the
Kenya Film School. The CEO of the Kenya Film Commission Timothy Owase encouraged the graduates to utilize their newfound skills to generate job opportunities for themselves and the Kiambu community.

Rosemary Kirika, Kiambu Deputy Governor, expressed gratitude to the Kenya Film Commission for their dedication, stating that their efforts represent a significant contribution towards nation-building and economic growth in the country.

CECM for Youth Affairs, Sports, and Communication Ali Osman said, ‘This 6-day training was aimed at strengthening the local filmmakers’ professional skills and equipping them with information to enable them to compete effectively in the local and international film environments.’

Participants who came from all the sub counties of Kiambu immersed themselves in various facets of Film production with the primary objective being to bolster the industry’s competitiveness globally, thus expanding its reach and influence on the international platform.

After the graduation ceremony, dig
nitaries who also included Chief Officer for Youth Affairs and Sports Maryanne Kahuno enjoyed an entertaining screening of short films crafted and developed by the trainee under the guidance of seasoned facilitators from the Kenya Film School.

Kenya Film School attracts students from all over the country to elevate the art of storytelling by training a new generation of screenwriters and filmmakers.

The intensive courses cultivate include filming, editing, performing, writing and designing in a high-energy environment, preparing for exciting careers within the entertainment industry.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Multi-Billion Mwache Multi-Purpose Dam Takes Shape As Dongo Kundu Bypass Nears Completion

Coast Regional Commissioner (RC) Rhoda Onyancha has urged constructors to strictly adhere to project completion timelines for the coastal communities to derive economic benefits from mega infrastructural projects undertaken by the government.

The RC led the National Government Development-Regional Implementation Coordination and Management Committee (NGD-RICMC) to a project monitoring visits to the Mwache multi-purpose dam, Dongo Kundu bypass and the Shimoni Fishing Port project in Kwale County.

The construction of the multi-billion Mwache multi-purpose dam in Kwale County is rapidly gathering pace as the constructor works around the clock to realize the project objective of upscaling water production.

The Coast Region Water Security and Climate Resilience Project (CRWSCRP) being implemented by the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation aims to increase bulk water supply to Mombasa and Kwale counties sustainably and to increase access to water and sanitation in Kwale County.

The dammed water will a
lso be used for irrigation purposes with more than 6,000 acres of land expected to be under irrigation for food production in Kwale.

The project is designed to have a main dam, lower check dam and upper check dam. The main dam with a height of 84 meters (m) and a crest length of 526m will have a capacity of 127 million m3 of water. It will harness water flow from the Mwache River basin for domestic water supply.

The dam will supply 186000 m3 of water in a day to the Port City of Mombasa and the expansive Kwale County.

Concrete works are ongoing at the diversion channel of the main dam and the stilling basin of the lower check dam, and an aggregate crushing plan has been set up for aggregate stockpiles.

The land acquisition had slowed the kicking off and the handing over of the Kenya Government and World Bank (WB) funded project.

The WB is supposed to disburse United States dollars (USD) 255 million (equivalent to Sh33.7 billion, at current exchange rates) for the construction while the Kenya Government w
ill cater for land compensation at USD 45 million (Sh5.9 billion).

RC Onyancha assured the constructor of security that they work 24 hours to ensure the timely completion of the project that commenced last year. The project is at ten per cent and is scheduled to be completed in June 2027.

The RC further directed Kwale County Commissioner Stephen Orinde to be firm for the project and not be derailed by local politics.

‘Don’t allow that. We have timelines,’ said RC Onyancha, urging the Kwale administrator to work with other security agencies to facilitate seamless construction.

The NGD-RICMC team later crisscrossed the long dual carriageway Dongo Kundu bypass that nears completion.

The Sh22 billion bypass involves the construction of an interchange at the Likoni-Lunga Lunga highway and two bridges at Mwache – covering 660 metres, and another at Mteza straddling 1,440 metres.

The Mwache Bridge is 100 per cent complete, the Tsunza Viaduct 99.2 per cent, Mtenza Bridge 97.6 per cent.

At the tail end its cons
truction, the bypass is poised to be a game changer as it will not only connect three main transport corridors: The Mombasa-Nairobi highway, Mombasa-Malindi highway, and the Mombasa- Lunga Lunga highway but also reduce congestion at the Likoni ferry crossing channel.

The project aims to provide road connectivity to the South Coast including the 3000-acre Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for socio-economic development, and connection to/from the Moi International Airport and SGR Miritini terminus thus improving tourism in Diani.

The project will also promote trade facilitation between Kenya and the neighbouring countries.

The Sh2.6 billion Shimoni Fish Project is 61 per cent complete. It involves the construction of a Modern Jetty of 75m x 30m with a causeway of 135m long x 7m wide, a warehouse accommodating a Fish Processing Plant, Cold Storage, and Ice-Making Plant.

The project will also entail the construction of a port access road, port gates and support facilities such as offices and washrooms,
a Power Sub-station including a generator (500KVA), a water storage tank (250CM), and a goods warehouse at the existing Jetty side to serve the general public.

The NGD-RICMC was informed that the construction of a fire station was substituted with a Fish Meal Plant. The County Government of Kwale was tasked to identify a suitable site for the construction of a fish auction market.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Peace Stakeholders Vow To Promote Peace Initiatives In West Pokot

Peace stakeholders from various sectors in West Pokot county including county leadership, community leaders, religious institutions such as churches and mosques, as well as private organizations, have made a firm commitment to promote peace initiatives in areas prone to conflicts.

The stakeholders noted that their collective goal is to enhance stability, promote development, and ensure the overall well-being of communities within their county and neighboring counties.

The stakeholders made a firm commitment after a meeting that was held in Kapenguria Town to address matters concerning sustainable development, collaboration opportunities, and project prioritization for communities residing in ASALs and borderlands with an aim to enhance livelihoods and foster peaceful co-existence in West Pokot county and its neighbouring communities.

The peace stakeholders agreed that West Pokot county like other ASAL areas have unique challenges related to resource scarcity, land disputes, and ethnic tensions, making pea
ce-building efforts crucial.

While addressing the press at the County Public Service board compound during the peace stakeholders meeting, Assistant Director for Community integration and peace building at the Ministry of East Africa Community Metrine Too, emphasized that the government has adopted a holistic strategy to tackle peace-building concerns. This approach entails promoting collaboration, dialogue, capacity building, sensitization, training, and fostering understanding among the conflicting communities.

Too further mentioned that the government has devised a strategic blueprint to promote lasting peace among the conflicting communities in ASAL regions, as well as to address the challenges posed by climate change.

She emphasized the significance of peace forums in enabling the State Department of Arid and Semiarid Regions to gather valuable feedback from participants.

This feedback will contribute to enhancing future effectiveness and efficiency in subsequent references.

‘Our goal is not only to
assess available resources but also to understand the interventions required by warring communities from the national government,’ stated Too.

Additionally, she emphasized that along with her team from the Ministry offices from Nairobi, they have embarked on a visit to the county in order to gather valuable perspectives from the local residents.

‘Our ultimate objective in the county is to execute initiatives that would promote harmony among conflicting communities within the region, as well as neighboring communities adjacent to the county,” the assistant director said.

Too mentioned the importance of implementing peace-building initiatives to tackle the underlying causes of conflict and foster harmonious cohabitation in conflict-affected regions.

She emphasized the need to enhance collaboration with counties, Non-Governmental organizations, academic institutions, and experts in conflict resolution in order to devise effective solutions for the issues that lead to conflicts and affect the communities in
ASALs and cross-border regions.

Too also advocated for regular workshops that engage the community in finding solutions to resolve conflicts in the region.

She urged for the need of strengthening monitoring and evaluation systems to gauge the effects on communities residing in conflict-affected regions, as well as to devise strategies for conflict prevention.

On his part, Mr. David Chepelion, the Chief Officer overseeing Special Programs, Humanitarian Coordination, and Disaster Management in West Pokot County, emphasized the County Government’s dedication to promoting peace and unity within the region and among neighboring communities.

‘The county has collaborated with the Arid and Semiarid Department to address their shared interests and work together towards fostering peace,’ he said.

He commended the East Africa community Ministry for arranging a peace stakeholders gathering, emphasizing that such forums are instrumental in identifying solutions to address peace in conflict-prone regions.

‘The meetin
g, which aims to discuss strategies for bringing peace among communities engaged in conflicts over cattle grazing, was met with great joy by the county,’ Chepelion said.

He conveyed his gratitude and on behalf of the county government to the Department for implementing additional initiatives, such as beekeeping and grass cultivation, to complement livestock rearing and guarantee ample food supply for the animals in regions where resource scarcity had led to conflicts among the communities.

Additionally, he recognized the government’s efforts in enhancing water initiatives to foster peace.

Chepelion maintained an optimistic outlook, believing that the meticulously devised strategies implemented by the government would play a significant role in fostering peace among the warring communities.

Jeremiah Tumo, the Senior Deputy County Commissioner (SDCC) for Pokot Central sub county, conveyed his appreciation, recognizing that the Department of ASALs has enhanced cooperation through interactions with the county
government and various stakeholders to address peace and conflict resolution in the region.

He commended the Ministry for offering the community a chance to recognize and prioritize the necessary actions required in the county to ensure peace and serenity.

Tumo emphasized the significance of acknowledging the distinct challenges faced in ASALs and the necessity of discovering local solutions to address these issues.

He emphasized the collaboration between the Department and the County in identifying any overlooked gaps pertaining to peace and tranquility in the region, in order to achieve sustainable development on a broader level.

Tumo highlighted the importance of communities exploring alternative livelihood options to reduce their reliance on a single activity.

He believed that by thoroughly sensitizing individuals on peace-related matters, they would be able to pave a distinctive path forward for the County, taking into account its proximity to Uganda and its history of conflicts since gaining indepe

Reverend Simon Ng’aleu, the designated peace officer in Pokot North Sub County, conveyed his gratitude to the Arid and Semiarid Department for their support in peace-building efforts.

He lauded the Ministry for recognizing the challenges they face in addressing peace-related issues and emphasized the significance of educating the community on peace matters.

He highlighted that progress is unattainable without peace and emphasized the necessity of fostering peace among conflicting communities.

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) and Chairman of Jamia Mosque in Makutano town in Kapenguria constituency Haji Omar urged the Arid and Semi-Arid Department to continue their efforts in ensuring that the warring communities achieve lasting peace.

He has called upon leaders from Kenya and Uganda, who are actively involved in peace-related matters to prioritize bringing the leaders together for discussions on strategies to promote peace.

Omar emphasized that cattle rustling activities and scarcity
of resources are the root cause of the conflict in ASALs.

He has pointed out that peace in the region is crucial as it paves the way for progress in terms of development, resources, and job opportunities for the people.

Omar firmly believes that once peace is achieved, significant strides can be made in terms of development, resources and creation of job opportunities for the people.

He has also highlighted the importance of conducting on-the-ground investigations to identify the causes and sources of the conflicts.

Source: Kenya News Agency