Reality of Kenya cholera outbreak sets in

December 2, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – As the government assures Kenyans that rampant cholera outbreaks in parts of the country are under control, the situation in East Baringo is getting worse after 11 bodies were discovered in Kapnyung’uny area along River Suguta.

Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Abbas Gullet who toured the region on Wednesday termed the situation as ‘grim’ and said there was urgent need for government action before the situation escalated.

“While touring the district we came across a herdsman with three children he had taken for treatment after walking for 40km. He told us that he had left behind two sick women and a child battling for their lives in the thickets. Upon arrival at the scene, a gory scene of lifeless bodies of a mother and child clung to each other was unbearable. Close to the bodies were empty jerricans of water and gourds of milk,” he said.

So far, at least 122 cholera cases have been confirmed countrywide, with 26 deaths and 32 patients admitted to various health centres.

He proposed that the government sets up more health facilities and provides immediate medical services to the sick.

“The government needs to establish more medical centres in the affected areas to avoid over crowding. The current health facilities are not enough and failure to increase the facilities will only aggravate the situation,” he said.

Mr Gullet explained that the residents started fleeing their homes after several deaths were reported towards the end of November.

“These deaths caused panic among the locals and they started fleeing. Some headed to Lomelo, Kapedo, Silale hills and Nasorot hills with reported continuity of cholera signs and symptoms,” he said adding that some of the sick people had been attended to.

“Tens of patients have been attended to various medical facilities including; Chemolingot District Hospital, Kapedo Health Centre and Riongo Dispensary. However these facilities are overstretched due to the huge number of people who require medical attention,” he said.

He further asked the government to deploy helicopters and vehicles to be used in the search and rescue of people who were stuck in the bushes further observing that more dead bodies continue being found along  migration paths.

“We have chartered a helicopter to assess the situation in the district. The situation is not good and there are fears that an unknown number of people are in the bushes and some might have died during the flight from Kapnyung’uny,” he stated.

Mr Gullet disclosed that the society was using three vehicles to support the search and rescue of people believed to be in the bush and to assist patients who were too weak to walk to health facilities.

“Most of the weak people are often left behind in the wild and rough terrain therefore to save more lives we have mobilised our vehicles to assist in the rescue efforts. Some people have been waiting for KRCS vehicles along the roads while others have gone to the health facilities for treatment,” said Mr Gullet adding that the NGO had also started creating awareness on the outbreak.

For the past seven days, KRCS personnel have been attending to various cholera-related cases at Kapedo Health Centre, where the Society has provided one cholera kit and one volunteers’ kit, which can handle over 10,000 cases.

The Society also dispatched a team of volunteers, a Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation nurse, and a local pastor to Nasorot hills to attend to some patients at the Chief’s camp. A doctor has been engaged by KRCS and deployed to Kapedo Health Centre with two medical support staff.

KRCS Deputy Secretary General Dr James Kisia, Rift Valley PC Mr Said Warfa and a Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation Officer in charge of Disease Surveillance, Dr Philip Muthoka toured the area to assess the situation.


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