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Malaria outbreak in Kericho under control

Medical experts in Kericho County have expedited efforts to manage and control the malaria outbreak that had affected residents of Kusumek village at Chemosot Ward in the Bureti Sub-County on Friday last week where 39 persons tested positive and were admitted to Kapkatet and Litein Hospitals.

According to the County Malaria Coordinator Mr. Richard Siele, 166 persons were tested at a temporary testing and treatment centre established in Kusumek Tea buying Centre where doctors and nurses offered a medical check-up to residents.

Siele who led the team revealed that they managed to mitigate a nearby quarry suspected to be the main breeding site in the area by spraying high spreading oil to control the spike in malaria infections.

“So far about 23.5 per cent of the cases tested with Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDTs) kits have turned out positive but no new cases reported,” added Siele.

He also pointed out that the team dispatched to manage the spread, discovered that a majority of those who tested positive were among 30 households that had not received free mosquito nets issued by the government last month.

“We took over 200 pieces of Long-Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets to be issued to the homesteads who did not get them during the last distribution in December. The Area Assistant Chief and village elders helped us to identify the specific households,” Siele said.

The County Malaria Coordinator further said that they had requested the Division of National Malaria Program (DNMP) to provide a boost on commodities such as RDTs kits and anti-malarial drugs.

He also intimated that his department was writing a proposal for support in Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) at Kusumek village of Chemosot Ward before the onset of the long rains saying it’s an important exercise so as to forestall any imminent upsurge.

“Kusumek village is the area of focus because Indoor Residual Spraying is a very expensive undertaking. This intervention is not used during outbreaks since it’s only a prevention strategy,” said Siele.

In December 2021, Kericho County distributed a total of 621,237 Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) to 198, 614 households in 2, 649 villages in the entire County.

According to the World Health Organisation, the LLINs have played a key role in reducing the malaria burden over the past decade.

LLINs are nets treated in the factory with an insecticide incorporated into the net fabric which makes the insecticide last at least 20 washes in standard laboratory testing and three years of recommended use under field conditions.

By Kibe Mburu

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