- Kitwan said for the exercise to succeed, 2,470 community health promoters have been roped in.
- Each of the 247 villages in Kitui has 10 community health promoters.
A campaign to eradicate neglected tropical diseases like bilharzia and common worms among the Kitui population has received a shot in the arm from the World Health Organization.
Kitui County chief officer for public health and sanitation Lynn Kitwan said the county has received free drugs from WHO valued at Sh1.3 million for mass drug administration and deworming.
Kitwan said a four-day mass drug administration and deworming campaign meant to break disease transmission among the Kitui population would be carried out between June 8 and June 11.
“What we are targeting with this activity is the eradication of neglected tropical diseases in our county, our country and in Africa as a whole. The first step is mass drug administration,” she said.
She said collaboration between WHO and the National government’s Ministry of Health aimed at realising the breaking transmission strategy was launched in 2019, and has seen Kitui and 14 other counties benefit.
“In 2019, the Health ministry launched the breaking transmission strategy for neglected tropical diseases since little or no effort had been made to eradicate or try to curb these diseases,” Kitwan said.
The chief officer, who was addressing the media in her office on Monday ahead of the mass drug administration and deworming campaign, further said the exercise would cost up to Sh11.5 million.
She said in Kitui, the targeted ailments are Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) and soil transmitted Helminths (worms). She noted that Kitui has 14 wards that are Schistosomiasis endemic while worms are found across the entire county.
“For soil transmitted Helminths, we are targeting those aged one year and above and for Schistosomiasis, we target five years and above,” Kitwan added.
She clarified that pregnant and lactating women are restricted and will only take the drug on clear advice of the medic.
She said for the exercise to succeed, 2,470 community health promoters have been roped in, adding that each of the 247 villages in Kitui has 10 community health promoters.
The public health chief officer said the community health promoters have been equipped with knowledge on how to handle residents, the right dosage of the drugs and what to do in case of a drug reaction.
She added that on Thursday and Friday the exercise would take place among children in schools. Thereafter the community health promoters will visit churches, markets and also make door to door home visits.
“When you do the deworming, you curb the transmission cycle of these worms and parasites. And then after the mass administration we will also continue to sensitise our people on wash activities that encourage sanitation and hygiene activities.”
She said the neglected tropical diseases could be effectively prevented if Kitui people get their sanitation and hygiene right. This she said entails washing hands regularly and properly after visits to the washroom.
She also added that the people of Kitui were being sensitised on the importance of having latrines.
“For Schistosomiasis, the breeding happens when we have fresh stagnant water. We will continue to sensitise our people not to play around or use such stagnant water,” Kitwan said.
She said after the mass drug administration, her department would continue to impress on the community health promoters to continue drumming up the message on proper sanitation and hygiene to eradicate the neglected tropical diseases.