, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – Seven people have died following a cholera outbreak at the Dadaab refugee camp.
According to the Médecins Sans Frontières, majority of those affected are living at the Dagahaley camp and that the epidemic might spread due to the poor living conditions.
The MSF head of Mission in Kenya Charles Gaudry stated that 307 patients 30 percent of who are children under twelve have been admitted to its treatment centre.
“The fact that this outbreak has occurred further highlights the dire hygiene and living conditions in the camp and a lack of proper long-term investment in sanitation services,” he said.
He indicated that the teams are working throughout the camp to provide health education sessions on cholera and good hygiene practices.
“Refugees, who are entirely dependent on aid, are now paying the price for services which have not been properly maintained over the last years due to funding cuts from donors,” he stated.
“There are insufficient latrines for the population size, and they have not received soap for the last two months. In addition to the ongoing cholera outbreak, the number of patients in the hospital has also doubled over the last week – children are the most affected, including many with malnutrition.”
He further pointed out that they are visiting the homes of patients admitted to its treatment centre and spraying the houses with chlorine solution in order to prevent further spread of the disease.
“The rains are exacerbating an already precarious hygiene situation. After each heavy rain, we see an increase of patients in our treatment centre. While immediate measures are now being put in place to address the cholera outbreak, it is crucial also that proper investment is made on a longer term basis to improve living conditions for refugees and prevent future epidemics,” he stated.
He explained that once people are infected through contaminated water or food, cholera spreads quickly.
“This spread is accelerated by poor hygiene practices and inadequate sanitation. The disease can only be halted by improving hygiene conditions. Cholera can be treated simply and successfully by immediately replacing the fluids and salts lost through vomiting and diarrhoea,” he stated.
Cholera patients are always treated with oral rehydration solutions and antibiotics. Severe cases will require fluid replacement via an intravenous drip.