21 September 2017

Kenya: Cholera Remains Active in Six Counties - UNICEF

Photo: AMREF

Nairobi — A cholera outbreak that hit Kenya in April this year is still active in six counties.

According to the latest report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), a total of 229 cases of cholera were reported in Garissa, Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Kilifi and Vihiga counties between August 27 and September 9, with Nairobi accounting for 198 of the cases.

The situation is projected to improve if data captured in the week leading to the publication of the report - which shows that only 46 cases were reported in all the six counties - is anything to go by.

The counties of Murang'a, Mombasa, Turkana, Kericho, Nakuru, Kiambu and Narok which were hit by the second wave of cholera in April have since recovered according to the report published on September 15.

The first cholera outbreak in 2017 was reported in Tana River County, a major eruption that started on October 10, 2016 having been brought under control by April 2017.

Since the year begun, 2,807 cases of cholera have been reported in the country, accounting for 50 deaths. Of these cases, Nairobi County accounted for 1,650.

The report however notes that 31,857 people in Marsabit, Samburu and Mandera Counties gained permanent access to water (lack of which is a key contributor to cholera) through repair of boreholes during the reporting period.

A further 81,634 gained temporary access to safe water through household water treatment.

According to UNICEF, some 3.5 million Kenyans are said to be in urgent need of safe drinking water.

The UN agency places the number of children facing food insecurity in the country at 1.6 million, a total of 3.4 million of the adult population facing the same.

"From January 2017, a total of 50,547 children (64pc of annual target) and 94,851 children (48pc of annual target) have been admitted for the treatment of severe and moderate acute malnutrition respectively," the report highlights.

Out of the Health Action in Crises (HAC) of $42,435,000, there exists a funding gap of 61 per cent ($16.6 million), a situation that threatens UNICEF's effective response to disease outbreaks and food insecurity.

According to UN Resident Coordinator for Kenya, Siddharth Chatterjee, US $ 106 million is needed to cater for humanitarian interventions in the period between September and December.

New appeal to fund #KEdrought response: 3.4 million Kenyans food insecure, +350,000 children acutely malnourished. https://t.co/iqiLQLzxPR pic.twitter.com/Ckfub7ItEP

- UNDP Kenya (@UNDPKenya) September 8, 2017

The agency is said to have received $20 million with $7.2 million having been carried forward.

"The Kenya 2017 HAC appeal has a funding gap of 39pc and without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to optimally support the drought emergency response, and mitigate the risks of a worsening situation for children."

During the said period, close to 400 children in some of the 23 counties classified as Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) received assistance from UNICEF.

"A total of 375 drought-affected children (200 girls and 175 boys) benefitted from child protection services in Turkana, Wajir and West Pokot Counties during the reporting period," the report points out.

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