Isiolo commissioner differs with county over food hawking ban

Geoffrey Omoding

Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding who has differed with the county government over a ban on food hawking to stem spread of cholera.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu I Natio Media Group

Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding has differed with the county government over the food hawking ban to curb spread of cholera.

Five cholera cases have been reported in the county in the last three weeks, County Director of Public Health, Kikuyu Sarite, said.

Terming the ban punitive, Mr Omoding demanded that the traders be allowed back to work saying majority of them were struggling to put food on the table and fend for their families.

“There is no need to close down shops and businesses for struggling residents. Majority of them have retreated to their homes and have no source of income. The best way is summoning them and ordering them to comply with hygiene standards,” he said.

Mr Omoding said the ban was against President William Ruto’s quest to promote poor and struggling Kenyans commonly referred to as “Hustlers”.

The administrator announced crackdown on illegal dens operating under unhygienic conditions and businesses and households emitting sewer waste to residential and public areas to stem spread of the disease.

But in a quick rejoinder, Mr Sarite said the ban was in ‘good faith’ and was not meant to punish the traders but ensure compliance with the health guidelines.

The official who is in charge of Preventive and Promotive health said more than 100 traders had been arrested and arraigned and close to 300 food eateries closed in the last two weeks.


Isiolo County Director of Public Health Kikuyu Sarite. He has defended ban of food hawking in the county to curb the spread of cholera.


Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu I Nation Media Group

“The ban is still on. We cannot allow food hawking and non-compliant eateries to continue operating in hazardous environments. They must comply,” he maintained.

Mr Sarite said three patients were admitted at an isolation ward at Isiolo Referral Hospital and that the majority of those who exhibited cholera-like symptoms turned out negative.

“We have in the last 21 days had 18 suspected cases. Three patients are currently admitted in the isolation ward. Majority of the cases were diarrhea,” he said, revealing that the cases were reported in Safi Estate, Shambani, Mabatini, Kiwanjani and LMD where open defecation is practiced.

The official said preliminary investigations show the outbreak could be as a result of sewer burst as one out of 150 water samples sent to National Public Health Laboratory showed presence of faecal materials.

He rubbished reports that two people had died of the disease and likelihood of cross infection to other patients in the wards where the first patients were admitted after showing the disease symptoms.

The director asked residents to maintain high levels of hygiene of boiling drinking water and thorough washing of hands saying the county was not out of the woods yet.

Some of the residents lack adequate sanitation facilities, resulting in poor disposal of waste which puts them at risk of contracting water borne diseases.

“We have set up a 20-bed isolation ward at the referral hospital and have enough drugs in our hospitals,” Mr Sarite said.

Health Executive James Lowasa had earlier ordered the Isiolo Water and Sanitation Company (Iwasco) to ensure water supplied to homesteads was treated.


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