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More than 80 nurses have graduated from the Ortum Mission- School of nursing in a ceremony that saw Kenyans from different parts of this nation attend it. The nurses who graduated with Certificates in Nursing will now join the health sector which still experiences a shortage, especially in West Pokot county.

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Graduates - Ortum Nursing


Speaking during the 3rd graduation of community registered school of nursing, the chief guest Dr.Khadija Kasachoon- Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour & East African Community, said that the graduation of the nurses is a great step towards achieving better medical services in this county as a large number of the graduates will join the nursing profession. “I am grateful to be here today to witness this ceremony. As a child of this county, I know that our people will benefit from the skills that our graduates have acquired.”
Dr. Kasachoon maintained that the national government is and will continue to be committed in achieving the best health care for Kenyans.

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Dr. Khadija Kasachoon - Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour & East African Community


On her part, The Chief Officer in the Ministry of Health- West Pokot county, Christine Akuto, said that the county government is quite impressed with the kind of skills being offered at the school, pointing out that the graduates will fill the shortage of nurses that is still being experienced in Kapenguria Referral Hospital and across the county. “To be a nurse, you are in a noble profession. You will be the work force that is much needed in our county.”

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Christine Akuto - Chief Officer Health and Sanitation West Pokot County


Akuto also said that the county government had already sent Ksh 2.1 million to the school to aid the school towards greater achievements. She added that the county government will continue to put more resources in the health sector so that the people of this county will be able to access the best medical services.
The school principal Sister Nelly Kiplagat congratulated the graduates and all the stakeholders for turning the school into a beacon of excellence, by ensuring that the graduates come out with the best skills.
“today is a great day to all of us here. This is a great stride as a school and we hope to achieve more in the coming years. To our graduates, turn the skills you have acquired into real work and uphold the values.”
The graduates were from the Sept 2011, Sept 2011, March 2013 and Sept 2013 classes, all graduating with certificates in Nursing.

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Sister Nelly Kiplagat - Principal Ortum School of Nursing

West Pokot County First Lady, Josephine Kachapin, this morning presented mosquito nets to patiens at Kapenguria Teaching and Referral Hospital in a bid to end malaria prevalance in the County.

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 Josephine Kachapin - First Lady West Pokot County

Mrs. Kachapin noted that a high number of malaria cases are among pregnant women and children. Speaking at The Hospital, the First Lady said that she personally went to The Ministry of Health to request for the mosquito nets.

She noted that many people do not use the nets in the right way as she has seen some being used in vegetable gardens. She pleaded with the locals to use the nets in the right way.

With her were Chief Officer for Health and Sanitation, Mrs. Christine Akuto, who commended the First Lady for the noble work she is doing.

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 Christine Akuto - C.O Health and Sanitation

She also commended the staff at the facility who report to work daily despite the ongoing strike. She requested the National Government to sign the Doctors CBA sooner so that the doctors can get back to work and assist the locals. Currently the hospital attends to an average of 350 patients per day.

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 First Lady handing over mosquito nets to a patient

West Pokot county and other counties that for a long time have been marginalized, have been known for issues ranging from cattle rustling, drought to hunger-food insecurity. It has become a vicious cycle of poverty. This, has however, prompted various stakeholders to come up with policies to curb the hunger issue in West Pokot.
Food & Agricultural Organization(FAO) which is funded by the Italian co-operation, with its vision being to work with governments to build food-secure countries, began a project particularly in Central Pokot, areas of Masol, Lomut, Ortum and its environs, with a focus to help farmers shift from traditional agriculture and embrace agribusiness.
According to Giuseppe De Bac-Projects Manager, FAO, nicknamed as ‘Lopon’g’ by the locals,experienced in facilitating communities in crop diversification, says that after making visits to Central Pokot, he realized that there was a huge potential for farming there, yet it had not been taken advantage of.

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The orchard in Masol


“I was impressed with the soil fertility especially in Masol and I saw an opportunity for the communities here. That is why we began with an orchard here.”
FAO then established The Maradol paw-paw-hermaphrodite species- which yields about 70 papaws after 11months of maturity, mangoes and red peppers. Mr Giuseppe says that the chose the Maradol pawpaws because of their distinct features; dwarfs, hermaphrodite and having high yields.
In collaboration with the county government of West Pokot, FAO identified areas for demonstration plots, whereby the communities received trainings on how to plant and maintain the seedlings. The farmers were provided with seedlings at a subsidised price and water tanks. This has resulted in great transformation of the way of life of these communities.
David Kamama-Chairperson, Lomut Farmers’ Cooperative Society,says that FAO has played an integral role in empowering communities in Lomut,” We have been taught on how we will sustain our projects, and most importantly, on how to stay independent.”

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Some of the women in Lomut displaying their mango chips


Mr Kamama maintains that FAO gave them the farming inputs they needed ranging from a nursery of grafted seedlings, a store for their products, water tanks and tours.
“This has been a great opportunity for us. Through Mango value addition, we have been able to get more money out of our mangoes. initially, we used to sell a 50kg bag of mangoes at Ksh. 250, but now we sell a kilogram of mango chips at ksh. 600. FAO has changed lives and Mr Giuseppe has left a great legacy.”

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Close to 200 farmers have embraced fruit farming in Central Pokot as a way of earning their income as opposed to maize farming which sometimes fails due to harsh climatic conditions.
After working in Central Pokot for about two plus years, Mr Giuseppe believes that to some extent, his mission has been accomplished. “Change starts with a single person. If I was afraid of the insecurity in that area, we wouldn’t have been able to make a difference. I urge the county government of West Pokot to take up the projects and continue to empower the locals.”
FAO has already handed over the projects it has been undertaking in Central Pokot to the county government.

West Pokot County First Lady, Josephine Kachapin, this morning presented mosquito nets to patiens at Kapenguria Teaching and Referral Hospital in a bid to end malaria prevalance in the County.

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Mrs. Kachapin noted that a high number of malaria cases are among pregnant women and children. Speaking at The Hospital, the First Lady said that she personally went to The Ministry of Health to request for the mosquito nets.

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She noted that many people do not use the nets in the right way as she has seen some being used in vegetable gardens. She pleaded with the locals to use the nets in the right way.

With her were Chief Officer for Health and Sanitation, Mrs. Christine Akuto, who commended the First Lady for the noble work she is doing.

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She also commended the staff at the facility who report to work daily despite the ongoing strike. She requested the National Government to sign the Doctors CBA sooner so that the doctors can get back to work and assist the locals. Currently the hospital attends to an average of 350 patients per day.

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A team from the Ministry of  Devolution and planning led by the PS Mr. Micah Powon conducted a civic education today at Mtelo Hall in West pokot county.

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The team conducted an awareness campaign on the roles of the senator, governor, member of parliament, member of county assembly(MCA) and women representative. They also informed the citizens on the role of administrative authority including chiefs.
They also engaged the public on various devolved functions like agriculture, employment and gender equality.
H.E Governor Simon Kachapin graced the occasion and emphasized on the work that devolution done. He further thanked the team for capacity building to the people of West Pokot County.
‘‘I urge all leaders and voters to look at the progress the county has made in the four years of devolution. Improvement of road network, construction and upgrading of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions and mostly, lighting the county; this is undisputed. Just look around, within the county and you will discover that West Pokot County is the best in the country”, he said.

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 PS Devolution and Planning Micah Powon and H.E the Governor Simon Kachapin