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Turkana intensifies campaign against Kala-azar disease

Turkana County’s Kala-azar programme has rolled out a massive campaign aimed at increasing levels of awareness of the disease at household level to improve early identification and linkages to treatment.

The countywide sensitization programme expected to run for two months will commence in October 2021 and will rely on facility staff and CHVs as linkage to the kraals.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Annual Performance Review meeting at Lokichoggio, the Head of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Jimmy Loree said that the sensitization would also inform the public about the availability of treatment sites in their respective areas.

Noting that people had always associated Kala-azar diagnosis and treatment with Amudat in Uganda, Loree confirmed that the County had established 21 facilities to provide the service to the residents.

He added that the access plan for reaching out Kala-azar victims also included sub county teams which facilitated requisition and deployment of Kala-azar commodities to individual facilities.

Loree explained that the disease locally known as “Etid” is relatively expensive to treat since the unit cost of commodities for one client may run up to hundreds of thousands. He however assured the locals of the County’s commitment to provide the services for free.

With full awareness of the pastoralists’ migration patterns along the common Kenya-South Sudan and Kenya-Uganda borders in Loima and Turkana West, Loree said the areas would be treated as special zones due to their increased vulnerability from travels which exposed them to changing climatic conditions.

The sensitization exercise comes at a time when Kala-azar programme had been listed as the most resilient in Turkana in the face of the disruptive global covid-19 pandemic that ravaged both the County and the country.

By Peter Gitonga

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