Some fifty people have died in the past week due to cholera-related deaths, Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo announced on Sunday.
The minister said the deaths are among 119 that have been reported in the country in the past month. And, out of the 4,560 cases of acute diarrhoea in the country, 190 have been confirmed as cholera. “Not all the deaths have been caused by cholera, meaning that diarrhoea is also killing people,” the minister said at her Afya House office in Nairobi.
As a result, the Public health ministry is requesting for Sh553 million from the Treasury to help combat the disease. Ms Mugo said the money would help enhance surveillance and deal with nutrition problems in the affected areas. The money would also help re-stock reagents for testing for the disease.
The minister made the remarks as reports indicated that five more people have died from suspected cholera outbreak at Lomelo area at the border of Turkana and east Pokot district, bringing the death toll to 17. More than 88 others with cholera related symptoms are admitted in various health facilities in the area.
According to medical officer in charge of the larger Baringo District Dr Robert Tukose, 54 of the victims are at Chemalongot sub-district hospital while 34 others are at Kapedo sub-district hospital. “Most health facilities are well stocked with drugs to cope with the disease,” said Dr Tukose, adding that the situation was under control.
According Ms Mugo, cases of cholera have been reported in 14 districts with East Pokot recording the highest deaths – 17 in the past week. According to the data released by the minister only North Eastern, Western and Nyanza provinces have not reported any cholera related illnesses.
Turkana Central and Kasarani have each reported 10 deaths each. In the total November tally, Turkana Central has the highest number of deaths – 33, with 31 confirmed cases of cholera. The minister said the major cause of the outbreak is suspected to be poor hygiene and lack of safe drinking water. “The current rains have not been experienced in all area, hence the continued scarcity of adequate safe water,” Ms Mugo said.
A cholera alert was raised in the country last Monday after the disease claimed the lives of at least nine inmates at Kamiti Maximum Prison. More than 50 others were admitted at both Kenyatta National Hospital and the prison dispensary.
At the same time, a medical team from Rift Valley Provincial headquarters led by Provincial director of medical services Dr Benedict Osore toured the East Pokot to asses the situation. The outbreak of the disease was reported early this week, killing five people in the area.
It is suspected that the disease spread from a village in Turkana district where cholera outbreak has been confirmed. Leaders from the area led by former Baringo county council vice chairman Kaisareta Kitilit claimed that over 65 people have died from the disease in the last one week.
Reports by Oliver Mathenge, Barnabas Bii and Wycliffe Kipsang