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Cholera kills five more in Tana River County

Friday May 20 2016

The Tana Delta County Security Committee led by Deputy County Commissioner Mike Kimoko (right) and OCPD Robinson Thuku listen to locals when they toured various villages hit by cholera outbreak. PHOTO | GALGALO BOCHA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Tana Delta County Security Committee led by Deputy County Commissioner Mike Kimoko (right) and OCPD Robinson Thuku listen to locals when they toured various villages hit by cholera outbreak. PHOTO | GALGALO BOCHA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GALGALO BOCHA
By GALGALO BOCHA
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Five more people have died from Cholera in Tana Delta Sub County, raising the number killed by the disease to over 20 since the outbreak was reported in the county in December last year.

Tana Delta Sub-County Commissioner Mike Kimoko on Friday said the outbreak was due to poor hygiene after making impromptu tour of villages severely affected.

While confirming that five people had died this week within the sub-county, Mr Kimoko blamed public health officers of sleeping on their job.

Mr Kimoko said his unplanned visit was precipitated by the deaths of more than 15 people since December last year within his sub county.

“We have a responsibility to ensure our people live in a healthy environment,” he added.

He said his team will compile a report which will be shared with relevant authorities, including Tana River County Government and provide an urgent solution.

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“The health function has been fully devolved and we believe public health officers should be properly facilitated to carry out their mandate, otherwise we risk losing many more people,” he said.

He lamented that the toilet coverage in the sub county was poor, with only one out of 10 homesteads in some areas having pit latrines.

Mr Kimoko and his sub county security committee visited several homesteads within Garsen town and witnessed poor hygienic conditions locals were living in.

A section of people living around fish market, Jua Kali and Tulu villages admitted to the team that they were defecating in the bushes while others share toilets with their neighbours.

“We wanted to know why the cholera outbreak has refused to leave our sub county. Now we are sure that poor hygiene arising from lack of sensitization by the public health department is to blame for all this,” he said.

The County Health and Sanitation Executive Committee Member Mr Hassan Bare Kuno was not available for comment.

However, a junior public health officer who talked on condition of anonymity said the department had not been funded for the last four years hence making it ineffective to discharge its mandate.

“We have been operating without facilitation in terms of funds and transport. We are also heavily under-staffed,” said the official.

Last month 11 people died in Tana North and Tana Delta sub-counties with local medics linking the disease to unhygienic environment.

Tana North Medical Officer, Dr Abbass Gobu noted that open defecation is the main contributing factor to sporadic outbreak of the highly contagious disease.

“We have a serious sanitation problem in the area because the residents are nomadic pastoralists who keep moving with their animals,” he added.