At least 50 people have been admitted to various health facilities in the Kerio Valley following an outbreak of malaria, amid a shortage of drugs to treat the disease.
The worst-hit area is Endo ward in Marakwet East sub-county, where all health facilities have been overstretched by the influx of patients exhibiting malaria symptoms.
Endo Mission Hospital in-charge Sister Lioba Kibor told the Nation that by Sunday evening, 45 patients were undergoing treatment and were in stable condition.
“Those who visited the hospital had fever, profuse sweating, headache, nausea and vomiting. Others also exhibited abdominal pain, diarrhea, muscle pain and convulsions. We have managed all of them and we have not referred any patient to other facilities,” she said.
Residents began streaming to the hospital two weeks ago, Sister Lioba said.
“But over the weekend there was an upsurge and all those who have been tested for malaria have turned positive,” she stated.
Sister Kibor said the recent rains provided a conducive breeding ground for mosquitoes that transmit malaria.
“The problem we are facing is a shortage of malaria drugs. The drugs we get every day are not enough to serve the high number of people seeking medical attention at our facility,” she said.
“We have alerted the health authorities about the issue and they have promised to provide more drugs to the facilities.”
She noted that malaria is common in the region, especially during the rainy season because of high temperatures that favour mosquito breeding.
“There is a need to sensitise residents on preventive measures such as sleeping under mosquito nets, clearing bushes and draining stagnant water as part of the efforts to contain the disease,” she said.
Residents said many people were being admitted to various hospitals with symptoms of the disease.
Appeal to government
Endo resident Benjamin Minanyang said: "We appeal to the government to help prevent the situation from getting out of control. We must avoid by all means situations where lives can be lost because of malaria.”
Last year, more than four people were reported to have died and more than 100 others admitted to hospitals after a malaria outbreak in remote villages in the Kerio Valley.
Kabetwa, Chesongoch and Mogil health centres in Marakwet East sub-county were the most affected last year following the outbreak.
Elgeyo Marakwet acting Health executive Abraham Barsosio said there had been an increase in malaria cases in the region because of the ongoing rains.
“We have enough anti-malaria drugs in our facilities and we have heightened surveillance to ensure any patient receives prompt treatment. There is also an upsurge in flu cases in the region and people should not mistake it for malaria,” he said.