NAIROBI, Kenya, June 24 – The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) has said the recent outbreak of cholera where 26 people were infected is a sign of a broken primary health care system in the country.
National Chairperson Jacqueline Kitulu stated that primary health care falls squarely under the county governments under the devolved system of government and must be taken seriously.
“It has come to our attention that several participants at a conference hosted at Weston Hotel in Nairobi, including medical doctors and other health workers, have come down with a food-borne disease suspected to be cholera,” she said, a day after test on 26 people—including three doctors—turned positive for Cholera contracted while attending a conference at Weston Hotel.
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu however, insisted Friday morning that they were investigating food poisoning but did not pick our calls later when a doctor attending the conference informed us that Cholera had been confirmed.
There has been no statement from the hotel management over the matter.
Dr Simon King’ondu, a Gynecologist who spoke to us late Friday said those affected were admitted at various hospitals for treatment, and wondered why the government was trying to hide the matter.
“The way they are handling the matter is a clear indication of protecting the hotel, but I don’t think it is the right thing to do because it is not a Weston issue. Cholera is a public health emergency?,” he said.
Capital FM News has seen a copy of some of the tests conducted on the victims which showed Positive for Cholera.
“We would like to note that diseases like cholera are markers of a broken health system, specifically a broken primary health care system,” said Kitulu of the medical association who also urged counties to focus more on the function envisaged for them by the Constitution of Kenya 2010- Primary Health Care.
She stated the need for the national government to quickly engage its epidemic investigation mechanisms and get to the bottom of this and other recent outbreaks.
“It needs to assure Kenyans of the continued enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health as is their constitutional right,” she said.
She stressed that the lives of Kenyans, and Kenyan health workers should come before any other considerations.
“We wish our colleagues and all those affected by this scourge a quick recovery and return to good health,” she said.