NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – Health Principal Secretary Khadijah Kassachoon says the Treasury has released Sh500 million to enable counties combat the cholera outbreak.
The funds, she said, would be used to purchase pharmaceuticals and to better equip counties diagnose and contain the outbreak.
The funds were released a day after two inmates at the Shimo la Tewa prison succumbed to the water-borne disease.
The death toll from the outbreak which began in December of 2014, stood at 65 on Wednesday according to Kassachoon.
The failure to contain the disease since, she defended, was not the national government’s but the affected county governments’ fault.
“It is not acceptable to continue to report new cases and deaths in this country. Cholera as you all know is easily preventable.
Allow me also to remind you, that according to the existing legal framework, ‘it shall be the duty of the local health authority to take measures for preventing the occurrence or dealing with any outbreak or prevalence of any communicable or preventable disease,’” she said to a gathering of county health officials meeting over the outbreak at a Nairobi hotel on Thursday.
The county officials were to come up with a game plan to end the spread of the disease which appeared, Kassachoon said, “to be walking from county to county.”
Eleven counties have been affected by the outbreak which began in the Capital city. They are: Mombasa, Homabay, Migori, Baringo, Embu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Bomet, Nakuru, Kiambu and off course Nairobi.
Counties such as Nakuru where four died in April from the disease, have taken the precaution of stopping the hawking of food and beverages until the outbreak is contained.
A spot check by Capital FM News in Nairobi however showed that such businesses continue unabashed.
The Ministry of Health was however optimistic on Thursday that the worst of the disease is over in Nairobi where the Kibera slum was hard hit.
Given the flooding experienced in the past few weeks however, there are concerns that there may be a resurgence; particularly given the overflowing sewerage system.
Cholera is however not a strictly Kenyan problem with other countries in the Great Lakes region experiencing outbreaks.
On Thursday UNICEF reported an outbreak among Burundians seeking refugee along the Burundi-Tanzania border.