Lodwar is considered the capital of the region, housing local and governmental facilities, including Turkana's biggest health facility and the main referral hospital, Lodwar County Hospital (LDH). It is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lodwar. The town is also served by Lodwar Airport.
According to the Insider’s guide to Kenya Lodwar's history began around 1933 when a trader named Shah Mohamed arrived on the banks of the Turkwell River. The roads were inaccessible, so he brought donkeys. He eventually built a permanent trading centre in Lodwar, including a gas station. The district commissioner's office was built, followed by a small medical clinic and a government prison. Police headquarters were built in Lokitaung, as tribal disputes were common in the area. During the 1960s, missionaries built schools in and around the town. Shah Mohamed opened several stores in the remote towns of this Turkana county because he was the only contractor and supplier to government departments, carried mail to the area, and supplied and transported goods for the Norwegian and Italian fish-canning projects on Lake Turkana (both of which eventually failed).
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