M a r k e t N e w s

Kenya: Concerted Effort to Fight Cholera Shows Significant Success

Posted on : Tuesday, 2nd August 2016

 "Cholera cases within my community have dropped drastically," said Ibrahim Hussein, Chief of Bulla Power in Mandera County, Kenya. "This relief distribution will go a long way to ensuring that my community keeps its water safe for drinking," he added, while supporting the Kenya Red Cross Society in distributing non-food items to his community, which has been ravaged by a cholera outbreak.

Red Cross staff and volunteers have been responding to a cholera outbreak in Mandera since May. The distribution exercise was part of a cocktail of interventions the organization had put in place to ensure no further cholera cases emerged.
Gamana Oolow is a resident of Bulla Power and a recipient of the Red Cross interventions. "The Red Cross has seen us through a very difficult situation," said Gamana. "If it were not for them, we would have buried so many of our people by now.
"I am so happy that I received jerry cans, buckets, soap and aqua tabs, which will assist me in putting what I have learned into action."
When the Red Cross first responded to the cholera outbreak in Mandera, the number of people affected was huge and its Cholera Treatment Centre was receiving patients in big numbers and in critical condition, on a daily basis.
assan Ronnow is heading up the Kenya Red Cross Mandera operations and is familiar with the cholera operation since the first cases were detected. "From a daily case load of 136 patients per day to less than 10 within a span of four weeks is a big achievement," he said.
"The most encouraging thing is seeing the community change their behaviour," he added. "Previously, patients used to come in shock, or some died while being taken to hospital, but now patients come for medical assistance on their own."
This change in behaviour has resulted in a drop in the mortality rate, as people are able to recognize the symptoms and seek medical attention early.
Among the initiatives put in place to ensure no more cholera cases emerge in any household, is contact tracing. This involves following up with a patient at home to ensure that measures are put in place to mitigate the likelihood of having someone from the same household contracting the disease, thus breaking the cycle of transmission.
Working with development partners and the Mandera County Government, Red Cross volunteers and staff also sensitize patients on preventive methods, which include the use of safe water, treatment of unsafe water, and environmental cleanliness.
"As a county, we were overwhelmed and needed the support from partners like the Red Cross," said Mariam Dahir, Chief Officer, Health Services, Mandera County Government. "They have been with us through this epidemic, something we don't take lightly."
However, even though the outbreak is under control, the risk of another cholera outbreak remains as predisposing factors still exist within the community, factors such as low latrine coverage, open defecation, and the use of unsafe water. The Kenya Red Cross Society is considering further long term planning focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene interventions to curb the recurrence of such an epidemic.
In June, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies released 276,165 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support the Kenya Red Cross Society in responding to the cholera and chikungunya outbreaks. Activities aimed at reaching 200,000 people focused on social mobilization, case management, and surveillance.

Source : allafrica.com
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