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November 30, 2023

Counties alert as Nairobi issues warning on Cholera outbreak

The department of health in Nairobi county recently issued an alert on outbreak of cholera. In a statement that was released to the newsrooms, the Health Director Lucia Koyio directed all the sub-counties to be on high alert and advised them to take any suspected cases of the disease seriously.

“Treat all suspected cases of cholera as cholera cases. In this regard, I am requesting all referral hospitals to reactivate their cholera treatment units to prevent the spread of the disease,” a statement read.

In Nairobi’s Eastleigh area, it is alleged at least 100 people had been checked into various hospitals with diarrhea raising more alarm about the disease. However, in an interview with waterkenya , many residents said they had been consuming water without any idea that it could be contaminated.

“What was shocking is that they said the water was okay. But we have since been receiving reports of people with diarrhoea across all homes. We are of the opinion that either City Hall is playing us or something is amiss,” Ali Mohamed one of the residents said.

Other similar cases had also been reported in Nyayo Estate, Fedha, Pipeline and Tasia where the residents had been complaining of diarrhea.

According to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, the cholera outbreak was first reported in Kajiado county before spreading in Nairobi.

“Cholera is contagious. It is spread when water sources, food, fruits are contaminated with bacteria that causes cholera. Take care of your hygiene at this time anywhere in Kenya,” said the KMPDU.

Nairobi had experienced a cholera outbreak in 2017. According to the WHO, 3,967 laboratory tests showed probable cholera cases, in which 76 were reported to have died. This made the county government to outlaw selling of roadside food caterers and vendors.

The Global Taskforce on Cholera Control says that in every 10 seconds, someone suffers from cholera, albeit being preventable and curable. It kills an estimated 95,000 people annually.

The World Water Day theme in this year was “Leave No One Behind”. Countries marked the day by creating awareness about cholera hotspots with oral cholera vaccines and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), in efforts to elimanate cholera.

WHO study shows that 1.8 billion people in the World uses water that is faecally contaminated. In addition, WHO says lack of adequate clean drinking water and quality sanitation are estimated to cause 502,000 and 280,000 cases of diarrorea respectively.

A spot check by The Waterkenya confirmed that the managements of I&M, Pioneer, Post Bank and Rahena buildings in Nairobi had been warned about the risk of dirty water.

In a memo directed to the I&M staff and other workers it asked them to avoid drinking tap water. However, the memo said that the problem was being resolved by the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company. According to reliable sources, the water was contaminated with sewerage, raising great fears of a cholera outbreak.

This came a few days after Kenya joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Water Day. According to a UN report, approximately 18 million Kenyans lack access to clean and safe water for use.

The county government of Nairobi in partnership with the National Environmental Management Authority has been committed to protect and safeguard all the water resources in the capital city.

Some of the best practices that helps in preventing cholera is to report immediately any suspected case of diarrhea to the nearest health facility for investigation, maintaining quality hygiene practices in households especially during food preparation, storing foodstuffs properly in the right conditions, drinking treated or boiled water, washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly, washing hand with soap after going to the toilet as well as avoiding eating food in open places.

In Machakos county Mavoko Subcounty Public Health also issued a statement of possible water contamination.

The Mavoko sub county Public Health officer Godfrey Mutuku, said they had received various complaints from March 9-13 about the possibility of water contamination.

“Investigations conducted by this office suggest a possible contamination of drinking water supplied by EPZA. Residents and companies have found that water supply received on March 8 had objectionable smell, taste and colour,” read a letter copied to subcounty medical officer of health JW Mbogo on March 15.

Mutuku stated that five people had been admitted in different hospitals in the county like Shalom Community Hospital, Kitengela hospital, 24 hospital and Machakos Level 5 Hospital.

According Mutuku, the water had been confirmed to be contaminated but it could not be directly linked to cholera outbreak, as some people had alleged and said more samples were collected to conduct extensive tests.

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