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Nairobi’s Medical Crisis

Kenya’s 47 country governments will shut down some of their services and close hospitals to new patients after their representatives in the Senate failed to resolve a dispute over a new scheme to share revenue between them. The scheme aims to distribute cash by population size. Critics say it takes away funds from less-populated, poor regions and gives them to those that are economically stronger. Supporters of the plan say it will ensure a more equitable distribution of cash. The deadlock in the Senate means no cash has been disbursed to local authorities, since a new formula needs to be in place for the cash to be released. County health facilities will not admit new patients, the council of county governors said in a notice to its members on Wednesday, saying the hospitals will only offer limited outpatient services. There was no immediate comment from the Senate or the national government. Established by a new constitution in 2010 to try and spread national wealth to more people in the grassroots, the county governments have opened a new front in the East African nation’s fractious politics. On Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta offered to add $462 million, to the 15% of national revenue that counties are entitled to, in the financial year starting from next July, in an attempt to break the standoff.