3 November 2009

Kenya: State Steps Up Fight Against Water-Borne Diseases

Nairobi — The government has stepped up a fight against an outbreak of water-borne diseases in several parts of the Coast in the aftermath of the floods.

Coast Provincial Medical Officer Dr Anisa Omar on Tuesday confirmed that 12 people have been admitted at Lamu district hospital after contracting cholera.

She, however, said the victims were in stable condition after they received treatment at the public hospital.

At the same time, Dr Anisa said several people at Kanagoni in Magarini were being treated by a team of medical personnel following an outbreak of diarrhoea.

The PMO and a team of medical staff yesterday toured Kanagoni among other areas to assess the situation.

She noted that the areas affected by the outbreak of water borne diseases included Lamu, Magarini and Tana Delta district.

Dr Omar attributed the oubreak to contamination of water sources such as wells and poor hygienic conditions.

"The outbreak of cholera in Lamu is as a result of poor hygienic conditions and contamination of water sources. For instance the wells are just a short distance from the pit latrines.

"So when flooding sets in the wells get contaminated with effluent. And in the Kanagoni case villagers relieve themselves in the bushes due to lack of toilets. During floods the human waste ends in the dams," the PMO explained.

And to tame the situation, she said, medical staff have fumigated the affected homes in Lamu while the occupants have received antibiotics to prevent the spread of the disease.

Wells in all the affected areas, she added, have been treated with chlorine while additional drugs have been dispatched to help in

treating the sick villagers.

Dr Omar said the medical team in the area was determined to bring the outbreaks under control, adding that there were enough drugs in case of any eventuality.

And to stem an upsurge of malaria sufferers, she said, the government would distribute 1,000 mosquito nets to the areas hard hit by floods.

Thousands of villagers in various parts of the Coast region have been displaced by floods owing to the torrential rains last week.

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