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Stakeholders call for enhanced fight against tropical diseases

Health sector stakeholders in Homa Bay County have called for concerted efforts to enhance the fight against neglected tropical diseases.

Homa Bay County Director of Health Gordon Okumu and Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) official Maurice Odira expressed concerns that tropical diseases were still rampant in the county.

Some of the diseases include Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), Tungiasis, snake bike and other soil transmitted ailments.

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, bilharzia and jigger menace were still affecting many residents of Homa Bay County.

The survey report indicated that jigger infestation and bilharzia were more rampant in Ndhiwa, Rachuonyo and Suba regions.

Speaking in Homa Bay town during the dissemination of results of baseline survey on tropical diseases, Okomo said bilharzia was rampant in Homa Bay County due to proximity to Lake Victoria.

Ministry of Health representative Florence Wakesho told residents to maintain personal hygiene to eradicate the diseases. She said that the government was providing free drugs for treatment and prevention of the diseases.

“Intestinal bilharzia is rampant in Homa Bay. We encourage everybody to take measures to help in eradicating the diseases,” Wakesho said.

She said the World Health Organization (WHO) was partnering with the government in providing free drugs to the affected people.

She urged the county government to ensure residents have access to clean and safe water.

“The diseases can be successfully fought when we improve our sanitation. Homa Bay County government should improve latrines coverage to enhance prevention,” she added.

Okomo encouraged parents to take their children for deworming and screening adding they are working to improve latrine coverage from 42 to 90 per cent across the county.

“Let people not get tired of washing their hands regularly with soap. The diseases are preventable when personal hygiene is maintained,” Okomo said.

Odira said they were continuously researching on the diseases to enable the government come up with a sustainable method of addressing the problems.

By Davis Langat

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