The deaths of nine people and the infection of hundreds of others in a cholera outbreak have triggered panic in Wajir county, with authorities now appealing for urgent help from the national government to contain the disease.
Addressing journalists in Wajir town, Health Executive Habiba Maalim said the county had contained the disease in Biyamadoh where the first outbreak was reported in December, but another wave has emerged, with 120 people infected so far. She added that patients at Wajir County Referral Hospital were responding well to treatment.
The department of health is trucking water to the Siriba cholera treatment centre (CTC) to help maintain hygiene and also provide food supplies. Ms Maalim said there were initially only two tents at the CTC and due to the high number of patients, some were lying outside. She said that the county had since set up more tents. The Siriba CTC has two standby ambulances to transfer patients to either Biyamadow or Wajir County Hospital when the need arises.
While Medicin San Frontiers and the Kenya Red Cross Society partnered with the county on the cholera response, Ms Habiba asked the national government and other partners to support it since the county government’s resources are already overstretched.
“We are appealing to the stakeholders, non-governmental organisations and Ministry of Health to come and support us,” said Ms Maalim. She also urged the public to help to create awareness of the disease.
“We will do a lot of contact tracing, community awareness and engagement, involving opinion leaders and water committees to control infection,” she said.
Wajir South MP Mohammed Adow called on the national government to support the residents saying that the resources they are receiving are not enough to deal with the disease.
“While resources have been mobilised to deal with the situation, they have not been commensurate to the magnitude of the challenge,” he said.
“My appeal is to the national government and other well-wishers to help us deal with this health scare. We are in dire need of more doctors, nurses, medical equipment and tents so as to bolster our response to the disease,” Mr Adow added.
He called on the residents to observe high levels of hygiene.
“As we continue to wrestle to the ground this cholera monster, I appeal to the great people of Wajir South to observe high levels of hygiene to prevent its spread,” he said.
The lawmaker thanked the health teams for their effort in containing the disease saying they had “put their necks on the line in the noble effort to contain the disease”.