Mandera, (Kenya) – Amref Health Africa, African health provider, on Wednesday in Nairobi, launched an emergency appeal for 250,000 dollars to respond to cholera outbreak in Mandera, Kenya.
Dr Githinji Gitahi, the organisation’s group CEO, confirmed that the cholera outbreak in Mandera County has already claimed 10 lives and 721 people suspected to have been infected since the first case was reported on April 13.
“To contain the situation and help put a stop to the spread of the epidemic, we have launched an emergency appeal for 250,000 dollars.
Gitahi said it is feared that if the infections cross over to neighbouring Bulahawa, in Somalia, the situation could turn catastrophic as the health system in that country is barely functional.
He said the biggest challenge now is inadequate control and management of the outbreak.
“Health workers are not properly skilled in proper cholera case management, which could escalate the situation.
“We have established that the outbreak is mainly within Mandera town, with the original case suspected to be a man who had travelled by bus from Wajir or Nairobi,” he said.
Gitahi said the organisation is currently collaborating with the Mandera County government and other partners to help manage the situation.
Ahmed Sheikh, Mandera County Health Executive, said lack of clean water for consumption has increased the spread of the killer disease.
“This disease was first reported four weeks ago from someone who travelled to Mandera from Nairobi and now almost every village in Mandera East is affected.
“We have 63 patients in the isolation ward which is more than the capacity but together with MSF we are putting up a temporary cholera treatment centre,’’he said.
He said the temporary 60-bed ward now under construction at the main entrance to the referral hospital, shall be well equipped.
The health officials said the situation on the ground is dire as cholera patients are currently being housed in a maternity shelter which has a capacity of 50 but is already crowded.
“The 250,000 dollars will meet the cost of health promotion, purchase of supplies for prevention and treatment such as water purification tablets and medicines, as well as laboratory supplies and personnel.
Gitahi said many more patients are being treated outside, with beds placed around the compound of the hospital and drips hanging from trees.
He said health ministry has mobilised supply of water to schools, markets and other public places, but there are no water storage tanks in many of these places. (Xinhua/NAN)