State acts fast to curb cholera spread

Cases reported in Narok, Kajiado, Nairobi, Garissa and Machakos

In Summary

• National and county multidisciplinary teams dispatched to all affected areas.

• Ministry distributes cholera supplies to facilitate timely confirmation and effective case management.

A cholera patient in a past outbreak
RAPID RESPONSE: A cholera patient in a past outbreak
Image: FILE

The Ministry of Health has formed a special team to fight cholera across the country as cases rose yesterday. 

The number of sick staff at Nairobi Hospital hit 52, the management said yesterday.

The ministry said cholera has been reported in Narok, Kajiado, Nairobi, Garissa and Machakos.


"The risk factors identified to be propagating the disease include shortage of safe water and poor sanitation and hygiene practices in isolated high-risk areas," the ministry said in a statement. 

Affected counties have asked for support from the national government.

"National and county multidisciplinary teams have been dispatched to all affected areas to help in implementing response measures and support the technical capacity of counties," Health CS Sicily Kariuki said. 

She said the ministry has distributed cholera supplies comprising pharmaceutical, non-pharmaceutical and laboratory diagnostic support to facilitate timely confirmation and effective case management.

"Counties reporting new cases have set up cholera treatment centres in the affected areas to support timely and appropriate treatment of cases," she said. 

The ministry and the counties have also set up health promotion teams to advise communities. 

The teams will trace affected households and workplaces. Continuous line-listing of cases and screening is ongoing.


"The ministry urges the affected counties to advise the public to refer any suspected cases to the nearest health facility or temporary cholera treatment centre for assessment and management," Kariuki said. 

At Nairobi Hospital, one worker has already died since the outbreak last week. 

The hospital’s cafeteria has been closed indefinitely as the management tries to contain the outbreak which was first reported in the city early last month. 

Nairobi Health chief officer Washington Makodingo said the county has distributed chlorine tablets to areas where cases were reported.

The department also gave antibiotics to those prone to cholera to lessen the burden of the disease. So far the county has distributed 50,000 antibiotic tablets.

Makodingo further said the county is liaising with the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company to super-chlorinate its water as well as establish cholera treatment units in all health facilities in the capital.

“We have also, as a department, embarked on conducting an inspection of food joints which is among the primary sources of cholera,” he said. 

The cholera bacterium is usually found in water or food sources that have been contaminated by faeces from a person who is infected. 

People living in high-risk areas can protect themselves by following a few simple rules of good hygiene and safe food preparation. 

These include scrupulous washing of hands, especially before food preparation and eating, thorough cooking of food and consumption while hot, boiling or treatment of drinking water and use of sanitary facilities.

(Edited by R. Wamochie)