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Ministry of health issues advisory as effects of ongoing floods continue to bite

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The ministry of health has issued an advisory on possible health risks in the wake of heavy rains pounding most of the country.

In the advisory issued by public health and professional standards principal secretary Mary Muthoni, the ministry is urging those living in counties that have reported enhanced heavy rains to be extra vigilant due to the health risks associated with the ongoing weather conditions exacerbated by the heavy rains.

“The public is advised to avoid crossing swollen rivers and relocate from high-risk areas prone to landslides and floods. Strict adherence to sanitation and hygiene practices is crucial, including frequent hand washing and proper waste disposal.” Advises the principal secretary.

Those in affected areas have also been urged to treat drinking water before use and ensure food hygiene to prevent contamination and seek immediate medical attention at the nearest health facility for symptoms of waterborne diseases or any health concerns.

According to the ministry, the current situation presents potential health hazards including risk of injuries and fatalities due to surface run-off and mudslides, particularly in hilly areas, inaccessibility of health facilities caused by floodwaters and damaged roads among other infrastructure, impacting the delivery of crucial healthcare services.

Challenges in nutrition due to flooding disrupting food production and submerging crops, potentially leading to reduced food availability and dietary diversity, increase in waterborne diseases and vector-borne illnesses like malaria have also been cited as major health concerns.

According to the advisory, overcrowding in displacement camps may further elevate the risk of upper respiratory tract infections, vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles due to accessibility barriers and poor disposal of human waste increasing the risk of diarrheal diseases.

To mitigate the effects, the ministry of health says it will be collaborating with county administrations to implement a comprehensive response plan focusing on vulnerable areas within the health system.

The response plan includes activation of the national Public Health Emergency Operations Centre and prompt activation of County Emergency Operation Centres, preparedness of Health facility capacity, qddressing vector-borne illnesses such as Rift Valley Hemorrhagic fever, Dengue fever, Chikungunya, Malaria, among others through distribution of insecticide treated nets (ITNS) and provision of insect repellants.

The ministry is also emphasizing preventive health measures, including vaccinations against vaccine preventable diseases, providing technical assistance and supporting county Governments through rapid response teams.

The development coming in the wake of devastation caused by the ongoing floods, which have been blamed on the elnino phenomenon, which has left at least 50 people dead.

The state of affairs have seen members of the National Assembly urge the president to declare the ongoing floods a national disaster and direct provision of urgent intervention measures. The MPs had adjourned normal business on Tuesday to express how their constituents were suffering due to floods caused by El-Nino rains.

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