More than 1,000 people have tested positive for malaria in Marsabit, weeks after the deadly disease killed more than 26 people in the expansive region.
A report handed to Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu also showed that the 1,000 were from a sample of 2,500 people who sought treatment from hospitals in the area.
While presenting the report to Dr Mailu on Tuesday evening, director of clinical and referral services Boru Okutu said the number of malaria cases were rising in the Illeret ward.
He said more rains were expected in the region and, therefore, the outbreak might not end soon.
“The county had always been considered a no risk zone for malaria until recently. For this reason, we had a shortage of drugs but we responded fast and now we are well equipped,” said Mr Okutu.
During his tour of the area, Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali listed a number of challenges faced by the region’s health department, among them lack of specialists in the county and sub-county hospitals despite the facilities being equipped.
“Equipment in the hospitals is lying idle due to small logistical issues that I intend to solve by December,” said Mr Ali.
The governor also urged the Health ministry to help him with his plans to establish a branch of the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) in Marsabit.
In response to the request, Dr Mailu said a team from KMTC will go to Marsabit in two weeks’ time to meet with the governor.
He also promised that as per the request by the county leader, a CT scan machine would be installed in the county referral hospital in the next three weeks.
“On the issue of specialists, we can see how to solve and make appropriate use of the scarce human resource we have. Maybe, mobile operation can help us,” said the CS.
The CS also urged nurses to return to work, saying Kenyans were suffering as a result of the ongoing strike.
He said their demands can be met but not under circumstances when Kenyans were suffering.
“We can have the demands of the nurses fulfilled but if we tell them that we can do that right now, we will be lying,” said Dr Mailu.
He further said the nurses’ demands can be met in the budget of the next financial year. The CS added that despite this, the health workers should realise that their jobs were a calling.
“The sooner the nurses see the challenges the government is facing and understand them, the better. The need for money does not warrant the kind of treatment we are giving Kenyans,” said Dr Mailu.