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Counties urged to regulate food vendors to curb cholera outbreaks

The Ministry of Health has urged the county governments to come up with policies and laws that will guide food vendors on hygiene standard requirements so as to tackle frequent outbreaks of cholera in the country.

Speaking during the launch of a 10 day oral vaccination exercise against cholera in Madogo, Tana River County, Director of public health Dr. Francis Kuria said that food vendors with questionable hygiene standards are some of the key drivers of cholera in the counties.

Other factors leading to increased cases include congestion especially in refugee camps in Garissa County, sourcing of water from contaminated areas especially in Arid and Semi-Arid areas where drought has led to scarcity of water, unregulated water vendors and poor sanitation in informal areas.

The target counties for the oral vaccination are Nairobi, Garissa, Tana River and Wajir which are classified as the most affected in a bid to control the outbreak which has so far affected 4607 persons and claimed 84 lives.

The vaccination will be administered to all persons above one year and they are advised not to drink water in the first few minutes after vaccination.

“As counties, we want to ask all the governors in this country to put in place by laws to make sure that the food sources we have are all operated in high hygiene standards,” Kuria said.

“For us to fast track the containment of the outbreak, we must therefore rise up and collectively address these drivers which calls for a stronger multi sectoral cooperation among the partners,” he added.

Kuria however noted that vaccination alone will not control the disease and that people must observe other sustainable and control measures like safe water and sanitation practices.

He further pleaded with citizens against self-medication when they start to reveal the signs of cholera.

“We urge you, if a person starts vomiting and to diarrhea, let them be rushed to the health facilities as fast as possible. What kills patients is lack of body fluids which when administered in health facilities the person will live,” Kuria advised.

Tana River Deputy Governor Mahat Loka who was also present rallied the community members to come out in large numbers and receive the vaccine noting that it is safe with no side effects and called on them to ignore any negative propaganda against the vaccination.

Cholera is a disease caused by a bacteria which results in severe diarrhea and vomiting. The diseases can result in severe loss of body fluids and lead to death if untreated.

By Erick Kyalo

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