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October 22, 2018

Measles claims one in Mandera, Wajir outbreak

Mandera town/PATRICK VIDIJA
Mandera town/PATRICK VIDIJA

A measles outbreak has hit Wajir and Mandera counties, claiming one life so far.

The latest Kenya Disease Outbreak Situation Report on March 23 said more than 39 cases of were reported in Wajir East subcounty and 73 cases in Mandera East subcounty. 

The latest measles outbreak in Kenya was in April 2017 in Dadaab  refugee camp in Garissa. Children under five were affected; no one died.

Head of Health Promotion Unit Dr Sam Mahugu yesterday said they are on the ground surveying the situation and putting in place measures to curb spread of the disease.

Mahugu urged residents to get routine immunisation services, especially for children. Lack of immunisation is a serious problem. “We need as many caregivers as possible to take their children for immunisation. People are not treating it with the seriousness it deserves,” he said.

Mahugu and other officials from the Health ministry were meeting yesterday to devise strategies to contain the outbreak.

The report compiled by Unicef also said 14 counties have reported confirmed cholera outbreaks since the beginning of 2018. Cumulatively, 2,180 cases with 48 deaths have been recorded.

These counties include Mombasa, Garissa, Siaya, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Kirinyaga, Busia, Tana River, Turkana, Murang’a, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Nairobi and Nakuru

Seven of the counties — Kirinyaga, Busia, Mombasa,Tharaka Nithi, Siaya and Meru — have contained the outbreak.

Unicef has dispatched g health supplies, antibiotics and interagency health kits to Siaya, Busia, Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo and Samburu counties. More than Over 5,000 children under five and 26,000 people receive treated.

Unicef, the Ministry of Health and WHO have also finalised a Sh231 million isx-month multi-sectoral cholera plan. It runs from March to August this year.

The program will be launched by Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and will advocate, mobilise, leverage resources to implement cholera prevention and control interventions at national and county levels.

Unicef is also finalising partnerships with the Kenya Red Cross Society to support 675,250 beneficiaries in counties with cholera outbreaks.

The partnership will expand community surveillance systems in Turkana, Garissa and Marsabit, Nairobi, Siaya. It will do hazard vulnerability and capacity mapping vulnerability capacity mapping in Turkana, Tana River, Baringo and Marsabit.

During the current cholera outbreak, 3,500 households in West Pokot and Turkana counties were reached. They received water through the distribution of 140,000 Aquatabs; 4,433 jerrycans, 3,500 buckets, 8,609 bars of soap, and dissemination of hygiene messages, including hand washing with soap.

Unicef wash supplies, including 70,000 Aquatabs; 2,000 jerrycans, 2,000 plastic buckets,50,000 bars of soap were also provided to support access to safe water. These were given to 9,667 beneficiaries.

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