The Kenyan Ministry of Health on Thursday announced a raft of measures to contain a cholera outbreak that has claimed eight lives in three counties in Kenya.
Director of Medical Services in the Ministry of Health Nicholas Muraguri said the government will deploy technical personnel, medicine and water treatment chemicals to Migori, HomaBay and Nairobi counties affected by cholera.
“The national government will scale up technical, financial and logistical support to the three counties experiencing a cholera outbreak. We are harmonizing response to the epidemic with county governments,” Muraguri said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
An estimated 166 cases of cholera have been reported in Nairobi, Homabay and Migori counties since the beginning of February.
Muraguri noted that acute water scarcity occasioned by the current dry spell triggered the new cholera outbreak.
“Communities have sought water from contaminated sources like shallow wells as the dry spell persist. We have advised health workers to step up surveillance to avert a catastrophe,” Muraguri said.
The government has formed an inter-agency taskforce to coordinate cholera response in the affected counties.
Muraguri said the taskforce has been meeting on weekly basis to assess the scale of the outbreak and advise the government on appropriate responses.
“Public health officials from the national and county governments have assessed the cholera hotspots and informed us on the appropriate remedial measures,” he said.
The Ministry of health has assisted counties to set up isolation facilities to enhance timely management of cholera cases.
Muraguri said health education has commenced in counties affected by cholera outbreak to sensitize communities on good hygienic practices.
“We have encouraged counties to invest in clean water, sanitation and hand washing in order to defeat cholera,” Muraguri said.
He added the ministry of health will distribute water treatment chemicals to counties at risk of cholera epidemic.
“National public health laboratories are testing water from selected sources for disease causing pathogens. We are providing drugs to strengthen case management,” Muraguri disclosed, adding that surveillance of suspected cases has been enhanced to pre-empt transmissions.