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Red cross trains stakeholders on Ebola virus preparedness

The Kenya Red Cross in conjunction with the County government of Homa Bay have embarked on training of various stakeholders within Homa Bay to keep them abreast on Ebola Virus.

The community leaders were drawn from the four sub-counties bordering Uganda including Suba North, Suba South, Suba Central and Homa Bay Town.

The training which took place Thursday within Homa Bay town brought together leaders including chiefs, youth leaders, bodaboda sector chairmen, religious leaders, Beach Management Unit chairpersons among others from four Sub-Counties.

This is after statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that by November 22 this year, 141 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were confirmed globally, including 55 deaths (case fatality rate (CFR): 39%).

In Uganda a total of 36 cases including 18 confirmed and 18 probable cases with 23 deaths (CFR 64%) were reported by September 25.

The fear of the virus reaching these four sub-counties which are along the shores of Lake Victoria has triggered the current preparation in these regions.

Speaking during the session, the Kenya Red Cross Homa Bay County Coordinator, Samuel Omondi urged the stakeholders to report any suspected case for prior treatment and isolation to contain the virus.

“Now that you have the knowledge about the disease make sure you report earlier any suspected case for isolation from the family,” said Omondi.

Due to the highly infectious nature of the disease Omondi warned the trainees to completely avoid hand contact with the suspected individuals without protective gear.

Suba South Sub-County Health Promotion Officer, Kennedy Amayo stated that the residents living in the four sub-counties are at a higher risk of contracting the virus due to cross border business activities.

Amayo urged the residents to stay vigilant whenever they interact with visitors from Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who do business along the beaches.

“Our Islands are more prone to more visitors from Uganda and DRC for trading purposes, something that calls for individual protection,” said Amayo.

The health officer reiterated that their main aim of training the community leaders is to ensure that information reaches other members of the society.

He asked the leaders to spread information among the community members to create awareness about the virus and its risk factors.

Signs and symptoms of Ebola include: Fever, vomiting, headache, sore throat, anorexia and advanced stage where blood oozes from all body openings.

The incubation period is between two to 14 days, said the health expert who added that a single confirmed case can lead to an outbreak and hence a need to be vigilant.

Fortunately, Kenya has not recorded any case so far.

By Brian Odhiambo and Sitna Omar

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