Lamu, KENYA: The USAID Afya Pwani Initiative has donated a Sh.10.5 Million transport boat to the health department in Lamu county.
The boat will be used to ferry patients and health workers within Lamu and other far-flung islands in the region.
This brings a sigh of relief for residents who had to hire private boats in order to ferry sick people from other islands to the King Fahad county hospital in Lamu town.
Hiring a private speedboat from Lamu East to Lamu town costs between Sh.15,000 to Sh.25,000 one way.
That has been very costly for many.
The boat which is christened MV Afya Bora Visiwani was officially received by governor Fahim Twaha at a colorful event held at the King Fahad Hospital grounds on Thursday.
The Chief of Party USAID Afya Pwani Eileen Mokaya said the agency has been having a hard time accessing many of the remotely located far-flung islands in Lamu even as they seek to render their assistance and that the boat is a timely intervention.
Mokaya said the boat will go a long way in easing logistical constraints in as far as movement of patients and medical staff across the various islands is concerned.
“As USAID it’s our joy and duty to ensure comfort for those in need as much as we possibly can.Patients in far-flung islands here have been in our heart and we only hope the boat will be taken care of,” said Mokaya.
Governor Twaha said to improve health care was the county’s top priority and termed the boat donation as a timely intervention for the people of Lamu.
“We thank USAID Afya Pwani for the boat donation. It will now be easy for our doctors, nurses and other health workers to be ferried to the various destinations in their course of duty. This boat will also enable anybody who requires emergency medical attention to be ferried to the hospital on time,” said Twaha.
The governor also took the opportunity to reveal that the county planned to have all households in the county registered in the National Hospital Insurance Fund-NHIF to enable them access medical care.
Residents who attended the event were elated and expressed their joy as much.
“You have no idea how this boat will be a relief to many.It has been very expensive moving a patient from other islands to here.Boat owners had also taken the advantage and would really harass us.But now with this boat, we can rest easy.Pregnant women will benefit the most,” said Omar Ali.