Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has asked residents to observe strict hygiene measures to help curb the spread of cholera in the county following eight cases that have been reported in areas of Ndia Constituency.
The governor also warned owners of business enterprises and residential premises against discharging affluent into rivers since it contributes to contamination of water thus endangering lives of the people downstream.
Waiguru said the cholera outbreak reported three weeks ago has been contained, however, residents must remain vigilant by observing good hygiene measures.
About 37 counties across the country have reported cholera outbreak with Kirinyaga recording eight cases.
The governor said the County Government has intensified campaign against the spread of cholera following the detection of sporadic cases in Gacharu village.
“All of us have a responsibility to make sure that cholera does not spread. We must play our part by ensuring we wash our hands and observe all hygiene measures as guided by our public health officers who are going round in towns sensitizing people,” the governor said.
The campaign that includes sensitization of the residents through public barazas, health education in schools and use of public address system in urban centers and villages is aimed at informing the public on the importance of protecting themselves against the disease.
Speaking at Kianyaga Catholic Church, Waiguru said the county will intensify inspection of facilities to check on compliance with Public Health Act and other safety measures.
“We have sent out public health officials to close down business premises and all facilities discharging affluent into our rivers. It’s unfortunate that Kirinyaga which is bestowed with many rivers can have a problem of cholera,” Waiguru said.
Besides carrying out public health education, the department has also been decontaminating homesteads where cases have been reported.
The county government is also giving aqua tabs to enable vulnerable households in the affected areas to treat their drinking water and at the same time giving protective prophylaxis treatment to people who have had close contact with cholera patients.
Public Health Principal Secretary Mary Muthoni said the national and County government are working together to help stop the spread of the disease.
Muthoni asked Kenyans to join the government to curb the spread of the disease by ensuring they observe proper hygiene measures like washing hands, ensuring food is well cooked, keeping the environment clean and boiling drinking water.
“Some of these diseases can be stopped by us at home because it is a matter of observing basic hygiene measures. We are calling on Kenyans to remain alert and stop the spread of cholera at their home,” she said.
The PS noted that cases of cholera, which is a highly contagious disease, has been on the rise in many counties in the recent past, necessitating sustained public action on its prevention and control.
At the same time, Governor Waiguru says her administration has set aside Ksh 36 million to fund monthly stipend for Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) beginning next financial year.
She further observed that the volunteers have since been given a new reference term and they will now be called Community Health Promoters (CHPs).
“For a long time, we were not paying the community health workers but now, the county government shall be providing Ksh. 2,500 while the national government provides an equal amount that will enable each of the workers to get a stipend of Ksh. 5,000 per month,” she said.
On her part PS Muthoni said the CHVs will be equipped with standardized medical kits holding tools that can undertake basic tests such as for blood pressure, sugar levels and temperature.
The PS observed that the volunteers form a critical component of healthcare service delivery in the counties since they are the first point of contact for patients in the community.
She added that they play an important role in the promotion of healthy communities through educating the public on disease prevention and control as well as hygiene.