, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18 – The government has now joined the fight against jiggers, an area that was recently a preserve of non-governmental organisations.
Public Health Minister Beth Mugo on Wednesday said her ministry was intensifying measures to deal with the menace that has mostly affected select rural areas in the country.
Mrs Mugo told Parliament that the government had procured chemicals and medical items worth Sh10 million for treating jigger-infested Kenyans with a focus of 15 districts mostly in Central and Nyanza provinces.
“I can confirm that a total of 901 people have been identified as having been affected by the menace. So far we have treated 471 patients,” said the minister.
She said at least 430 Kenyans in these districts were under treatment from the menace.
“We have a plan to spray at least 70 percent of households in these districts,” she added.
Already, the initiative has since seen the spraying of 1,278 homes and 171 schools in Kisii Central district, which is one of the worst affected.
She was responding to a question by Nyaribari Chache MP Robert Monda who had claimed that 265 people have succumbed to the infestation. The minister dismissed the numbers saying there was no death recorded on account of jiggers.
“I want to appreciate the work being done by some non-governmental organisations to deal with the problem but at times they exaggerate the numbers so as to attract donor money,” she noted.
Mrs Mugo announced that the government would enhance public education to Kenyans on the menace and further boost control of the jiggers.
She urged legislators to use public meetings to enhance general cleanliness.
“This has everything to do with personal hygiene and I would plead that we emphasise on it,” she opined.