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Health officials on high alert over diarrhoea cases

Public Health officials in Kisumu County are on high alert following a sudden onset of watery diarrhoea cases at Kombewa in Seme Sub-County.

Three patients who presented watery diarrhoea and abdominal pain symptoms are admitted at Kombewa County Hospital where they are being treated and monitored.

Kisumu County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Medical Services, Public Health and Sanitation Dr. Gregory Ganda called for calm saying samples collected from the patients ruled out cholera outbreak.

“We have now confirmed that these cases were due to other infectious agents and not cholera as earlier suspected,” he said.

A response team, he said, has been constituted to review the situation and come up with response activities.

Among the activities, he said is collection of water samples from the affected areas and communal watering points for testing.

“Since diarrhoeal diseases are due to transmission of infectious agents from contaminated food and water the department is responding to this outbreak and analysing possible causes,” he said.

All the communal water points at the affected areas, he added, will be treated to prevent further spread of the disease.

An active case search, he added, has been rolled out at the community level asking members of the public with diarrhoea symptoms to seek treatment at the nearest health facility.

Dr. Ganda further asked members of the public to observe strict hand and food hygiene to keep the disease at bay.

“The department is also making arrangements to have water treatment tablets available for members of the affected community at the nearest health facilities,” he said.

Meanwhile The Ministry of Health (MOH) led by Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Wafula has flagged off health equipment aimed at controlling the cholera outbreak that has affected some parts of the country.

The CS noted that Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Kajiado, Murang’a, Machakos, Garissa, Meru, Nyeri, Wajir, Tana River, Kitui and Homa Bay are among the counties affected according to the health statistics.

She nevertheless stated that the government has been able to control the outbreak in Kajiado, Murang’a, Nyeri and Uasin Gishu.

“As of today, Kenya has reported 4,186 cases of cholera and 78 deaths as a result of the infection caused by inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities,” said Wafula.

Speaking during the flagging off of the equipment at Afya House grounds, the CS revealed that the country has developed a National Multispectral Cholera Elimination Plan which has prioritized identified hotspots based on sanitation and hygiene indicators.

Wafula reiterated that the plan has adopted the whole government and society approach to Cholera control which aims at providing Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV), water quality control and Food safety.

At the same time, State Department for Public Health Principal Secretary (PS) Josephine Mburu said that MOH swung into action by bringing as many stakeholders as possible to help in battling the outbreak.

“Some of the Stakeholders and partners including Germany and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have contributed in technical assistance in the area of training, strategic deployment, medical countermeasures such as vaccines and other commodities,” Mburu disclosed.

She added that UNICEF has supported the government through supplies such as treatment chemicals, water tanks for storage of clean water, soap, hygiene kits and Menstrual Hygiene Management Kits.

Both the CS and the PS urged citizens to help make reports to the nearest health facility if they identify a person presenting with acute watery diarrhea and severe dehydration.

The Ministry of Health has called upon members of the public to join hands in fighting the Cholera infection by maintaining high hygiene by drinking treated water and eating well-cooked food.

By KNA team

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