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Watch out for cholera, but interventions in full gear

A victim of cholera receiving treatment at a local hospital/FILE

A victim of cholera receiving treatment at a local hospital/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 8 – Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has warned Kenyans of a possible cholera outbreak arising from the El-Nino rains expected this month.

Speaking during a meeting with the Senate Health Committee, CS Macharia accompanied by the Director of Medical Services Nicholas Muraguri said they have already distributed Sh700 million worth of drugs to counties and 13 million treated mosquito nets to malaria prone counties particularly in Nyanza and Western.

“It is our mandate as the ministry to be ready at all times, all we have to do now is scale up interventions… we have discussed with the counties to ensure medical drugs are available,” said Macharia.

He said a multi-sectoral body had been formed to coordinate efforts to secure Kenyans comprising the Ministry of Health, Transport and Infrastructure, Interior and Coordination of National Government, Devolution, Environment and Natural Resources and Water.

“We have put plans, equipment and commodities in place and enhanced communication and awareness to make sure we can address El-Nino when it comes,” said Macharia.

Macharia stated that the ministry has set aside a buffer stock of essential drugs as interventions during the period.

“There is one particular disease of concern to us, the Rift Valley fever that killed so many people in 2007. We are working with the vet department on this and they have taken it up and they are going to vaccinate 1.4 million animals,” said Muraguri.

He said they already advised counties based on the disease profiles they were likely to encounter and how to mitigate them saying each county now had a risk profile.

“We know there will be disruptions in supply of medicines so we have advised them to stock up on important antibiotics, anti-malaria drugs, vaccines and ARVs,” added Muraguri.

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He further revealed that they will hold a meeting with county executives to check the progress of El Nino preparedness.

Senators had sought to find out how the myriad of ideas and resources would be deployed to the counties and how crisis teams developed by the national government would coordinate with the county governments which would directly counter the effects of the rains which have since began.

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