By Marie Yambo
Three inmates at Kodiaga Maximum Prison have been admitted to hospital after developing cholera-like symptoms.
According to prison’s Assistant Commissioner Martin Akwanyi one of the inmates was admitted at the prison’s dispensary after suffering from diarrhea, while the other two were treated at the Kodiaga prison dispensary. He said they have already alerted public health officials.
He said samples taken to Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) confirmed that one of the inmates had cholera.
Read Also: Gov’t takes steps to curb spread of cholera
Kenyans have been urged to ensure high standards of hygiene and use chlorinated water to contain the disease.
So far twelve counties have reported cholera outbreak with Nairobi and Garissa having been hard hit.
See Also: Cholera Fact Sheet
Last week, the national government in conjunction with county governments intensified surveillance in the wake of the outbreak.
The development came as the Ministry of Health ordered the closure of San Valencia and Jacaranda hotels until their staff are certified to be free of cholera.
The two hotels were closed after following claims that they offered catering services at events attended by participants who were later hospitalized with cholera related symptoms.
“Jacaranda and San Valencia hotels were given a notice by county offices to ensure proper hygiene in food preparation but failed to comply” said Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu.
The CS was speaking after visiting patients at the Kenyatta National Hospital revealed that 101 patients have so far been received at the facility with 67 of them undergoing treatment for a particular strain of cholera.
He said the government will not allow all roadside eateries as well as the hawking of cooked foodstuff along the streets, adding that all such premises and food handlers will be subjected to fresh vetting to ensure they adhere to the required standards of hygiene.
“We will vet all eateries, including the five star hotels, and ban all the outsourcing of ready food by hotels. All hotels should cook the food eaten by their clients,” he clarified.
The severity of the situation was epitomized by the treatment of National Treasury CS Henry Rotich and his Industrialization counterpart Adan Mohammed of cholera related symptoms after attending a trade expo at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.
The CS however spared KICC saying it will be given a list of potential food sources.
“For a place like KICC, which does not prepare its own, we will classify the hotels which can supply their guests with food,” he added.
The Ministry has set up health centers in affected areas, including Mukuru kwa Njenga, Mukuru kwa Reuben, Mathare, Kibra, OuterRing and Kawangware.
Mailu further said 12 counties have been affected by the outbreak, with Nairobi and Garissa the worst hit.
“In Nairobi County, there are currently 67 admissions across various health facilities. Out of the 12 counties that have reported Cholera cases in 2017, only two have active outbreak of cholera Nairobi and Garissa” he said.
Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleophas Mailu said a joint task force has been formed to ensure that stringent measures are taken to protect Kenyans from being exposed to fresh infections while those already affected are treated.
Already, the task force has come up with a nine-point directive to be observed in the fight against the spread of the pandemic.
Noting that cholera thrives on poor hygiene, Dr. Mailu called on Kenyans to observe strict hygienic standards and avoid habits that could expose them or others to the disease.
Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium vibrio cholera.
Although cholera can be life-threatening, it is easily prevented and treated.
Additional reporting by Kaltum Juma