Six were admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital and another six at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital. “Since January the adjacent counties of Narok, Kajiado, Machakos and Kiambu have reported cholera cases with some of their patients seeking treatment in Nairobi, which risks possible transmission,” said Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki in the statement.

“Nairobi has a high transit population, which poses challenges to cholera prevention and control.”

Nairobi County has earmarked three facilities: Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, Mbagathi Hospital and Riruta Health Centre for admission and treatment of cholera patients.

LAXITY

Experts have raised concern that outbreak of the disease in this modern era is an indictment of the government for lack of commitment to contain preventable diseases.

“Kenya needs to strengthen its health system to effectively respond to cholera outbreaks,” said Ms Carol Wainaina, a research officer at the African Population Health Research Centre.

“Cholera is treatable, and more importantly, preventable. However, on several occasions Kenya’s health system has not been well-prepared to respond to outbreaks. This has included failure to identify and trace people who have the disease, as well as reporting and management of suspected cases,” she said.

“Epidemics can escalate quickly in countries where health systems are weak. The Ebola emergency in west Africa is a case in point.”

SANITATION

Dr Lukoye Atwoli, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Moi University School of Medicine Dean, said a cholera outbreak is a sign that Nairobi’s waste disposal system is not up to scratch, hence human waste is mixing with water and food.

“In public health, a cholera epidemic says a lot about an organisation and the effectiveness of the health system than any sophisticated monitoring and evaluation assessment could uncover,” said Dr Atwoli.

“In a modern, open and democratic society, such as we aspire to become, citizens should not countenance any excuses for repeated epidemics of a disease that can only be transmitted through the mixture of human waste and drinking water.”

He said the government seems to have given up on healthy lives and is content to just get by.

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