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Counties should invest in highly transformative programs that change the lives of residents

Development processes all over the world are driven by the prevailing theoretical, religious and political underpinnings applicable in a given region or country
Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki launching an Advanced Life Support [ALS] ambulance at Magutuni Level IV Hospital on February 24, 2023. Counties should invest programs that have high impact on the lives of residents such as this for quality healthcare.FILE/Governor Muthomi Njuki

It is on this strength that the Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto discovered the Pareto principle in 1897, also called the Pareto law, Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule, the Principle of Least Effort and the Principle of Imbalance.

Richard Koch has written a book with the same title highlighting key issues that are central in management of resources, labour, finances, country and organizations. 

The book notes that there exist imbalances in regions, The foreword of the book quotes Henry Ford “God plays dice with the universe. But they are loaded dice. And the main objective is to find out by what rules they were loaded and how we can use them for our own ends”. The book and the principle are underpinned by the need for progress and development, which is driven by the process of substitution where weak resources or the ones that are not capable of producing superior results are not used and all focus is on those resources or methods that can produce greater results and outputs for global use. 

Every resource is used ideally where it has the greatest value. This has led to the advancement of entrepreneurship from the word “entrepreneur” coined in 1800 by French Economist J.B Say and noted that the entrepreneur shifts economic resources out of an area of lower productivity into an area of higher productivity and yield. 

The major implication of the 80/20 principle is that for all occasions and purposes, 20 per cent (vital few) of customers, products, programmes, projects and employees are always producing 80 percent of the profits, successful and impactful programmes and projects and outputs. It also means that 80 per cent (the trivial many) of the customers, products, programmes, projects and employees are responsible for only 20 percent of profits, earnings, productivity and outputs, hence a situation that creates a lot of waste. It means that a majority of resources are being held back by a majority of much fewer effective resources. 

It upon the pareto principle that national and county governments must get their priorities right as the planning and budgeting process is ongoing such that only those programmes and projects that are highly transformative and can bring much higher results and impacts.

Preventive Health

Programmes on water (addresses food security and economic situation), sanitation (eliminates most diseases and hence good health), drought mitigation, climate change and mitigation and resilience (to cope with vagaries of climate change and global warming), health with more focus on preventive than curative health and connecting infrastructure are capable of driving the much-needed change in the country. This is where more funds should be used to rapidly move our counties upwards development wise. 

The World Bank estimates that Kenya needs to spend at least US$ 114 billion per year on water and sanitation, which is three times the current allocations by counties. Our counties of Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Kitui, Embu, Isiolo, Makueni and Machakos require substantial investments in water provision because some parts of these counties are water depressed and insecure. 

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number six is dedicated to water “Clean water and sanitation for all”, through ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The UN notes for example that for at least three billion people, the quality of water they take is unknown due to lack of monitoring of the water sources, and that by the year 2030, 1.6 billion people will lack safely managed drinking water. At the same time, 2.8 billion people will lack safely managed sanitation and 1.9 billion people will lack basic hand hygiene services globally.  And the same is true for our counties.

Strategies must be put in place by county governments and residents for water harvesting, including surface runoffs, water catchment areas protection and preservation, including riverine forests and afforestation for sustainable water availability and borehole drilling to address current shortages.

 Adequate sanitation – adequate and sufficient and well-constructed pit latrines and toilets in the households should be constructed, including construction of trunk sewer lines in urban areas should be fast tracked and financed.

Water and Sanitation 

Citizens are willing to pay a little for clean, adequate and affordable water and sanitation facilities, hence a source of revenue for the counties. 1 US dollar invested in water and sanitation yields 4.3 dollars and also a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 1.5 percent globally and higher than that locally. If we reduce the time taken to fetch and access water for households, we increase their productive and economic power.

Provision of water and sanitation in addition to drought and climate change mitigation programmes should go hand in hand with the provision of adequately staffed and equipped health centres and hospitals. The counties must invest in preventive health programmes through community health and nursing (preventive health). There should be a reduction in cases for curative health that consumes the little resources which could be invested in economically productive activities. Many households are one disease away from poverty as has been observed by President William Ruto.

OPINION By Dr. Mutegi Giti, Urban Management, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) & Environment Specialist., @danielgiti.

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