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Mombasa residents call for more rehabilitation centres, hospitals for children with special needs

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Residents highlighted the urgent need for more rehabilitation centres to address the rising cases of drug and substance abuse in Mombasa County.

A section of Mombasa County residents has called on the Budget and Appropriations Committee to allocate funds for additional rehabilitation centres and hospitals dedicated to children with special needs.

The residents made their appeal during a public hearing held by the committee at the Ronald Ngala Social Hall on Wednesday.

The committee, led by Dr Makali Mulu, MP for Kitui Central, is conducting public hearings across the Coast region to gather input for the 2024/25 budget.

Residents highlighted the urgent need for more rehabilitation centres to address the rising cases of drug and substance abuse in Mombasa County.

"The number of youths falling into drug abuse is alarming. We need more rehabilitation centres to help them get back on track," said Abdallah Said, a resident from Kisauni.

Representatives from each of Mombasa's constituencies presented their priorities to the committee.

They also stressed the need for youth hubs to provide unemployed young people with skills and opportunities.

Members of the Mombasa Budget and Appropriations Committee during a public participation exercise at Ronald Ngala Social Hall on May 15, 2024. (Photo: Farhiya Hussein)

"Youth hubs can channel the energies of our unemployed youth into positive activities, equipping them with self-empowerment skills and pathways to employment or business ventures," noted Ali Hussein from Mvita.

Continuous funding

Special interest groups, including representatives of persons with disabilities, urged the committee to ensure continuous funding to address their specific needs.

"We need hospitals dedicated to children with conditions like autism and hydrocephalus. These conditions are prevalent, and specialised care is lacking," said Jane Mwendwa, a mother and advocate for children with special needs.

Fishermen from the region also voiced their concerns, particularly about the state of their fishing equipment and the need for better shoreline lighting and emergency response services.

"Mombasa supplies only 4 per cent of Kenya's commercial fish. With better boats and infrastructure, we could significantly increase our output," explained Ali Hamisi, a local fisherman.

Dr Mulu emphasised the importance of incorporating public needs into budget planning, stating, "As we think about spending, we also need to think about growing the economy and expanding our resource bases despite the challenges we are facing. That is why it's important to hear what the citizens need too."

The committee also included Kuria West MP Mathias Robi, who echoed the importance of such public forums.

"These engagements are crucial for us to understand the ground realities and ensure that our budgetary allocations align with the actual needs of the people," Robi stated.

The delegation will continue its public hearings in Kilifi County on Thursday, aiming to gather more input to shape a responsive and inclusive budget for the coming financial year.

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