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Efforts to prevent yellow fever in Isiolo intensifies

Isiolo County residents have been urged to be wary of the threat posed by Yellow Fever disease and embrace precautionary measures to keep themselves away from mosquito bites.

The County Director of Public Health Guracha Kikuyu Sarite cited use of treated mosquito nets and clearing bushes within the neighborhood as some of the most effective ways to combat mosquitoes.

According to health experts, the disease is usually spread by a species of mosquito known as Aedes which usually thrives in wet and bushy areas such as along the river banks.

Sarite noted that the department of health has carried out 61 sample tests, with 53 of them categorised as highly suspicious and were subjected to advanced tests, whereby eight of them were confirmed as Yellow Fever Cases.

He said that seven people have so far died as a result of the disease in Isiolo County, adding that some suspected cases have also been reported in areas around Isiolo town, hence the need to promote primary health care campaigns in the area.

However, the chief officer said that the three suspected cases around Isiolo town could have emanated from people, who had travelled from the areas on the lower side of Ewaso Nyiro River, who are the most affected.

Sarite said the County Government in collaboration with other partners notably the National Government, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and local Non-Governmental Organisations will soon roll out a fumigation exercise in the affected areas to get rid of mosquitoes, using the insecticides that have been classified as suitable for the environment and do not affect people.

He said that community health workers and volunteers are already undergoing training on how to effectively carry out the fumigation exercise, which is expected to begin soon.

According to the public health director, the most affected areas are the lower sides of Ewaso Nyiro, which include Biliqo, Bassa, Malkadaka, Gafarsa and Sericho.

At least 18, 000 people will also receive aid in the form of treated mosquito nets and vaccines in order to curb further spread of the deadly yellow fever virus.

The government has also been challenged to address the handicaps, experienced during the pilot phase of Universal Health Care coverage that was initially rolled out in Isiolo, Nyeri, Kisumu and Machakos Counties, even as they continue to implement the UHC Programme across the country.

The National Coordinator of Public Health Movement (PHM) Dan Owalla said that the Universal Health Care pilot phase helped change the health seeking behavior among members of the public that resulted in long queues in hospitals as people sought healthcare services.

He said the UHC also experienced shortage of drugs and personnel, matters that should be addressed before the same programme is rolled out in the rest of the country.

He decried the low uptake of Covid-19 vaccines in the country, leading to expiry of vaccines as Kenyans drop guard on the containment measures, especially since the announcement by the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe that Kenyans were free to mingle in public spaces without face masks.

By David Nduro

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